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Hospice Savannah holds 30th Annual Tree of Light Ceremony after COVID delay

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 11:03 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:13 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For the first time in 2 years, Hospice Savannah held their annual Tree of Light Ceremony.

It was a chance for people to honor the memories of loved ones who’ve passed-away.

The message tonight, you are not alone. 190 chairs were set out at the memorial ceremony Sunday.

Not all the seats were filled, but every hand had a candle to remember and spend a moment with the spirit of their loved ones.

Hospice Savannah said this was a moment of peace for people who are grieving.

“I’m here tonight to honor my beloved brother Albert Strickland,” said Barbara Humphrey who lost her husband to a heart attack.

Hospice Savannah read more than 280 names of those who have passed away and some, they read every year.

Their loved ones remembered them through poems and songs to honor their memories.

“I will remember you,” Humphrey reflected. “Not the way you left, but how you lived.”

It’s a unique year for Hospice Savannah’s grief and loss center Full Circle to bring this ceremony back in-person. Especially, given the loss so many have endured during the pandemic.

It was fully virtual last year and the organization said COVID accelerated the need for grief support.

“People are losing whole families due to the COVID-19 virus,” said Betsy Cammerud, Full Circle Grief and Loss Manager.

Even she read the names of people she’s lost.

“The last three names that I read tonight were my sister-in-law and my mom and dad,” she said.

There’s no timetable on who can be honored during Tree of Light. Amanda Michael’s husband died by suicide in 2018 and said this helps her share her journey in grief.

“He was really amazing and it was a really, really big loss,” said Michael. “I’m thankful that this place exists because they really helped me through everything.”

Every other month, Full Circle has smaller memorial services to anyone in the community dealing with the death of a loved one. Helping people deal with grief together so they don’t have to heal alone. You can head to their website and reach out for more information.

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