‘We never forget loved ones’

Rochester / Remembrance ceremony

By Christina Killion Valdez

The holiday season is filled with memories and traditions, which can make it a challenging time for anyone who’s memories and traditions surround a loved one who has died.

"We never forget loved ones who’ve died. They are always a part of our life," said Kris Litzow, bereavement specialist at Seasons Hospice.


The annual tree lighting and remembrance ceremony sponsored by the Center for Grief Education at Seasons Hospice, however, helps remember those loved ones during the holidays.

"This can be an annual tradition for people to bring that person into the holiday in a more formal ritual," she said.

The lighting of the Tree of Memories includes a short reading honoring loved ones who have died. The tree is located in "A Place to Remember," a quiet garden for reflection, which is open year round.

"Each light on the tree is lit for someone’s loved one who is being remembered this holiday season," she said.

Once illuminated, the tree will remain lit throughout the holiday season, providing the community with a place to share memories and honor loved ones.

The symbol of light is carried on at the Memories of the Heart ceremony, during which each family can light a candle in remembrance of a loved one. The service also includes live music, readings and a meditation.

"The heart of the event is the reading of the names," Litzow said, noting that the lights are dimmed and the names are read by candlelight. "Those lights representing everyone’s loved ones is a powerful part of the service."

If you go


• Memories of the Heart, a community memorial service

When: 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Dec. 2

Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Fifth Ave. S.W.

To have someone’s name read, call Seasons Hospice at 285-1930 or e-mail

• "Tree of Memories" lighting

When: 6:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2

Where: "A Place to Remember" at Van Hook Park, at the intersection of Sixth Avenue Southwest and George Gibbs Drive, adjacent to Soldier’s Field Park.

Admission to both events is free. To make a contribution, contact Seasons Hospice at 285-1930 or

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