Lighting a candle and remembering those we have lost in 2022

Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - While the holidays are known for decorating the Christmas tree or making a gingerbread house, it can also be a hard time for those who will be celebrating for the first time without their loved ones.

On Sunday, more than 100 Quincy area residents gathered at O’Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home to remember those they’ve lost in the past year.

“We know that the holidays is a time where it really hits hard if you’ve lost someone and that doesn’t get easier year after year,” Funeral Director Rory O’Donnell said.

The special service included an array of holiday music from the Quincy High School choir followed by scripture readings and the reading of 200 names of the people who have passed.

Among those in attendance was World War II Veteran Loren Gilliland, who lost his wife in April.

After 74 years of marriage, this December is the first holiday season his wife won’t be there to share it with him.

“I haven’t taken her urn, which she was cremated, to the cemetery yet, and I’m just really hesitating to because she’s on my dresser in the bedroom and I get to talk to her every morning and every evening,” Gilliland said.

Each person in attendance held a lighted candle in their hand to represent those who have passed. While tears were shed, Gilliland said he sees the service as an uplifting event.

“This crowd coming in will really show how much people really love each other regardless of what’s happening in the world today,” Gilliland said. “Our faith is strong and we knew this would happen someday and we just didn’t know which one would go first.”

Sunday marks the third year O’Donnell-Cookson has held a special service as no service was held in 2020.

“Healing is something that takes a lot of time and everybody’s different there,” O’Donnell added. “We also have some tips for healing around the holidays and that’s something else that we share with families when they come.”

O’Donnell said tips like relaxing and reminiscing, sharing and listening and exercising the grief can help you this holiday season.

Another tip he said is “warmth from the winter.” Make your loved one’s favorite recipe as the scents and tastes will fill you with the memories of the past, comforting you in your time of need.

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