When ministering to those who have lost loved ones and are having a hard time during the holiday season, there is one piece of advice the Hospice of East Texas Chaplin Dennis Harvey thinks is very helpful for people to keep in mind.
"Be kind to yourself," Harvey said during The Hospice of East Texas' Holiday Remembrance Ceremony.
Advice like this, along with performances of Christmas songs and the reading of names of loved ones who have passed away, were just some of the ways The Hospice of East Texas' Remembrance Ceremony once again brought together people from throughout the community and helped them form new holiday memories as they honored their loved ones.
Development officer at The Hospice of East Texas Wendy Frizzell said the Monday event offered attendees a time to grieve during this busy holiday season.
"I think it's neat to pause in such a crazy busy time of year and grieve a little bit and think about loved ones that we've lost and just have time to remember them and you kind of bring up those memories," Ms. Frizzell said. "I think it's neat to be still even if it's just for about 30 minutes, and I think it's a neat time to be with other folks who have lost people."
Guests were treated to refreshments and Christmas music such as "Joy to the World" by the Al Fine Little Big Band. After remarks from The Hospice of East Texas President Marji Ream, Harvey talked about dealing with the grief of a loved one over the holiday season.
Then came the reading of the names of loved ones who have passed, followed by the song "Silent Night," which ended the ceremony.
Ms. Frizzell said that she hoped that everyone who attended was left feeling uplifted
"I think overall we hope that they will leave feeling like they are loved and feeling like their memories are important and they won't feel like they're alone through the holiday season," Ms. Frizzell said.
Over the last three years the Al Fine Little Big Band has made it a priority to play at The Hospice of East Texas' Holiday Remembrance Ceremony and this year two of the band's members even had their fathers' names read during the ceremony.
Though the rain prevented the candle and tree lighting portion of the ceremony this year, band leader Tony Garrett still said the event went well.
"It's special because of the people," Garrett said. "Remembering them and supporting those who are going through grief because of losing loved ones."