The holidays can be rough on people who are grieving, especially during the first year of loss.
So for the past 15 years, Joliet Area Community Hospice has offered an event to ease the transition.
This year is no exception, although “Lights of Love” will look a bit different this year.
“Lights of Love” will be livestreamed at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, the traditional day for the event.
“The positive part about this type of event is that family and friends who could not come if they live out of state or out town will now be able to participate and watch along,” said Laureen Crotteau, media relations and events manager for Joliet Area Community Hospice.
Crotteau said participants don’t need a connection to hospice. The event is open to anyone in the community who has lost a loved one.
“The loved one did not have to be in the hospice home,” Crotteau said. “It just gives them a way to honor their lived one, especially if this is the first holiday without the loved ones.”
For the last few years, Lights of Love was held at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, she said. Those honoring loved ones would order a commemorative ornament in advance, which they took home.
The event would begin with a reading and some music.
At the event, they received another ornament with the loved one’s name, which they would put on a tree displayed at the Rialto during the ceremony, she said. Any family or friends at the event would walk up to the tree together when their names were called, she added.
“After that we would do a photo tribute,” Crotteau said. “They would submit their loved one’s photo and then we’d put that on a video to music. It’s very moving.”
Even thought this year’s “Lights of Love” is livestreamed, the tribute is very real. The event will still begin with a reading and music. People may still order a memorial ornament and submit photos for the video tribute.
The only difference is that, instead of hanging ornaments on a tree due to COVID-19 restrictions, hospice will host a luminary tribute instead, she said.
The unique part of the luminary tribute is that hospice will stream the luminary ceremony from its grounds while attendees at home light a luminary bag with a battery-operated tea light, too, she said.
The luminaries and a program booklet with their loved ones’ names in it are sent with the ornaments.
“Each person who submits a photo also gets a luminary bag with their loved one’s name on it,” Crotteau said. “During the program, they’ll be able to light it.”
To order an ornament and to be included in the video, luminary ceremony and program listing, contact hospice by Oct. 31. Suggested donation for ornaments is $25 for the first ornament and $20 for additional ornaments.
From Nov. 12 through Nov. 25, packets available for pick up at the registration desk located at 320 Water Stone Way from 1 to 4 p.m. daily.
Packets will be mailed Nov. 12 to registrants who indicated "ship it to me" during registration.
Drive-thru packet pick-ups will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 13 and Nov. 17.
Information on the livestream will be emailed on Nov. 23 to the email address provided during registration.
To register, visit joliethospice.org/event/lightsoflove or contact Crotteau at 815-740-4104 ext. 257 or email@example.com.
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