Friday, February 23, 2018

Ray Dale

Holiday Memory Tree offers help in dealing with loss

Literary Junction

It’s that time of year again when most of us are looking forward to Christmas movies, cookies, sharing gifts, and time with friends and family. It’s a very wonderful and joyous time of year. For some, though, it can be a painful time of year.

Christmas and the whole Christmas season is a time when we typically enjoy being with loved ones, but when those loved ones have passed away, it can be very sad spending the holiday without them. While our own mortality and that of those we love is as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise, it’s an unfortunate thing to have to endure during this time of year. It takes away what for most is the most precious thing we have…the company of those we love. One thing death will never be able to take, however, is our memories.

It’s good to be able to take solace in the memory of friends and family and what they meant to us – and, for that matter, to the world as well – even though they are no longer with us. Of course, it’s not the same as having that person with us and being able to hold them close, but it is a comforting thing to remember someone and the impact they had on our lives.

With that in mind, I would like to make it known that the Big Horn County Library will once again be hosting the “Memory Tree,” which was placed here by the Southeastern Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program.

On the first floor in front of the videos, you will find a Christmas tree with lights and no ornaments. On the table in front of the tree are boxes holding ornaments and a black sharpie pen. Anyone who has lost someone to cancer is encouraged to write the name of that person on one of the ornaments and place it on the tree. Many patrons have commented in the past on what a wonderful way this is to keep the memory of their loved ones alive.

I was particularly touched two years ago watching my wife place an ornament on the tree in honor of her mother. It was the first year my kids would be spending the holiday without their grandmother, and after Jill placed the ornament, she just stood looking at the tree for a very long time. I didn’t ask her what she was thinking about as she stood there, but I think I know.

This is the fourth year we have hosted the Memory Tree, and on the wall nearby, you will see wreathes that were made from the previous three years’ ornaments. It is truly a blessing to watch the tree fill up with the memories of patrons each Christmas.

Anyone is welcome to honor the memory of their loved ones by placing an ornament on the Memory Tree. Ornaments are provided free of charge and the tree will be up through Christmas.