Celebrating the holidays can be hard when a loved one has passed away. On Sunday, Oliver’s Funeral Home in Grande Prairie will be holding a special candlelight service called Handling the holidays to honour those people. Owner Chris Clements says Christmas can be an especially hard time of year.
“A lot of times Christmas is a really hard season especially if this is the first Christmas when they’ve lost someone. We want to give families the opportunity to have a little remembrance service where their family member is honoured.”
Olivers has been holding this event for longer than Clements can remember. It’s run like a church service and features carol singing and candle lighting. They also ask people to submit a photo of their loved one beforehand. Those pictures are then used in a video presentation the night of.
Clements says he keeps the event going because it gives people the chance to spend time with others in the same situation and learn how they cope with their loss.
“You do this event because when you talk to someone who’s lost their loved one they don’t know how to handle the holidays. When they’re at this event it gives them an opportunity to see how others do it but it also gives them that time to remember again.”
About 200 people come to the ceremony every year. Currently, around 220 people have already pre-registered. Clements hopes those people will leave the event feeling a little bit better about celebrating the holidays without their loved one.
“Our hope for them is just a sense of peace in the midst of their loss. Just a time where they can think about the holiday season in a different light. Instead of it being really hard and sad it can be an honouring thing.”
Clements says there may not be time to submit any more photos for the ceremony but there may still be space for people to come and watch.
People can register for the event online or by calling Olivers at 780-532-2929. Handling the holidays will be held on December 2nd at 6 p.m.