The lanterns with messages and names of loved ones lost drift across the pond at hospice. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Community comes through for hospice vigil

Society holds first lighted garden event for people to remember loved ones

Campbell River Hospice had planned to hold its inaugural seasonal vigil with lights this year in its new home.

RELATED STORY: Hospice Build Team celebrates the official opening of Campbell River Hospice

Sometime this fall though, someone vandalized the bollards, or light posts, that line the walkway around the garden in the back. Hospice has since added surveillance cameras on the site.

RELATED STORY: Campbell River Hospice garden features vandalized

As far as the vigil, because of generosity from the community, hospice was able to set up the site for the event.

In one case, an electrician stepped forward to offer his services. Then there was the business that helped with ladders.

As a result, the Dec. 18 event was able to go ahead.

“Our community is amazing,” hospice executive director Louise Daviduck said. “Once it came out in the news that our lighting was broken, we had people donating lights…. We have so many people coming to us asking how they can help.”

Hospice moved into the Evergreen Road location in September 2017, so this was really the first chance to hold the lighted garden vigil event.

“This is the first that we’ve hosted,” Daviduck said. “We’re new in the building…. We’ve been here a year.”

People could take part in a crystal bowl meditation with musican Mikeoula, light a lantern in the name of a loved one who has passed away, take part in an outdoor fire bowl gathering with a hospice counsellor.

“She’s hosting conversation about loved ones,” Daviduck said. “We also have some of our volunteer companions around for those that just need to talk … or just need a hug.”

People could also relax and reflect indoors by the fireplace while harpist Marie Harman provided music.

“We’re here to honour loved ones who have passed, and it’s an opportunity for the community to get together right before the holdidays,” Daviduck said. “It’s really a nice time to just relax.”

For people grieving, the holidays can be an especially difficult time of the year, as it is when loved ones typically spend time together.

“Christmas time is so difficult for people who are grieving and lost someone,” she said. “They don’t really want to celebrate Christmas in the traditional way, so this is a way, I guess, to celebrate it in a different way.”

It allows people to remember those lost but also be around others in the community who are experiencing the same emotions.

Again, all of this was possible because of people who stepped forward to help the hospice society.

“It’s just been a beautiful thing to witness,” Daviduck said.

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People gather around the fire bowl in the back garden at hospice during the seasonal lighted vigil. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

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