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Candlelight service aimed at helping people deal with loss during the holidays

The holidays can be hard for those who have lost a loved one. Staff at Oliver’s Funeral Home in Grande Prairie are trying to make it a little easier on people by holding their annual Handling the Holidays Candlelight Service.

“We see hundreds of families every year and around Christmas, there’s always the comment of, ‘I just miss them so much this time of year; this time of year is so hard,'” says Office Manager Jordana Kluyt.

“It just gives them something to look forward to… Everybody’s kind of in the same boat essentially and it’s a comfort to them.”

Kluyt lost her mother in 2016 and says she knows first hand how hard things can be when she looks back on shopping or decorating for the season with her mom.

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“There are all these memories that come up for people at Christmas specifically that you’re thinking of I used to do this with this person, they’re gone and you kind of lose, at least personally, some desire to get into Christmas because it’s just not the same anymore.”

Oliver’s has been hosting the event in the city since 1996. It’s run like a church service and features carol singing and candle lighting. People are also asked to submit a photo of their loved one beforehand for a tribute video. Kluyt says just seeing those pictures can be comforting to a lot of people.

“To have a big group of people together acknowledging their loved ones and to see that photo of them and their name on our screen it does help. It gives them some sort of comfort like they’re not alone.”

The ceremony will be held at Oliver’s Funeral Home on December 8th at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in attending and having a photo in the slideshow must register online or by phone by December 2nd.

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