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COPING WITH GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

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 THUNDER BAY, ON - December 2, 2009 - ‘Tis the season to be jolly. At least, that’s how the song goes. For many of us who have lost a loved one, this can be a particularly painful time of year.

The Wings of Remembrance Angel

One of three Wings of Remembrance ornaments available at Hospice Northwest, to help people keep the memories of their loved ones alive during the holiday season.

It doesn’t matter how recent or long ago the loss was. Grief seems to intensify during the holiday season.

That’s because of our high expectations, says Kathleen Buso, Communications Coordinator with Hospice Northwest, a non-profit charity that provides compassionate support to individuals and their caregivers as they face the challenges of living with a life-limiting illness.

“Christmas is a time for love and sharing with family,” she says. “It’s a time when we focus on traditions. For some of us, those traditions can feel totally empty or almost impossible to face when the person we usually share them with is gone.”

To help people cope with grief during this holiday season, Hospice Northwest is introducing Wings of Remembrance Ornaments. At $25 each, these hand-blown glass memorial keepsakes come in three styles: an angel, a butterfly or a dove. They can be personalized in memory of a loved one.

All proceeds go to providing hospice palliative care, volunteer visiting and grief and bereavement support services throughout the District of Thunder Bay.

Hospice Northwest Wings of Remembrance Ornaments

Debra Johnsen stands in front of a Christmas tree at Hospice Northwest, holding the angel ornament she bought in memory of her mother, Jean Brillinger, who died last year on December 24th. Still grappling with the loss and dreading the Christmas season, Johnsen says the delicate glass-blown ornament is a way to honour her mom and the legacy she left behind.

Eleanor Ashe has ordered five angel ornaments – one for each of her children and their families – in memory of her husband Lorne, who died two years ago. They’d been married for nearly 47 years.

She chose the angel for a reason.
“Lorne gave me wings so that I could fly,” says Ashe, 71. “Because of my faith, I do not feel alone but know that I have him as a guardian angel. These ornaments will continue the tradition of his gift to our children. He personified Christmas and he continues to direct his love for the season for us to model and appreciate.”

Buso says the ornaments help keep those special memories alive.

“The Wings of Remembrance ornaments are a tangible way for people to include the memory of their loved ones in their Christmas celebrations,” she explains. “They can symbolize the spiritual presence of the person who has died and perhaps provide a focus for sharing memories and discussions with family and friends.”

WINGS OF REMEMBRANCE ORNAMENTS

WINGS OF REMEMBRANCE ORNAMENTS: Memorial keepsakes to help people deal with grief during the holiday season. They can be personalized in the memory of a loved one. All proceeds go to Hospice Northwest, a non-profit charity that provides palliative care, volunteer visiting and grief and bereavement support services throughout the District of Thunder Bay.

For more information on the Wings of Remembrance Ornaments, call Hospice Northwest at 626-5570. You are also invited to attend a Service of Light Memorial, 7 p.m. Thursday, December 10th at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 808 Ridgeway Street East, where the ornaments will be on display and available for purchase.

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Kellie Hudson is a Thunder Bay-based communications consultant.

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