It’s the time of year that we gather our nearest and dearest. It’s also a time of reflection, so it’s not surprising that in the final days of the year, many of us find ourselves thinking frequently about the loved ones we’ve lost.
Balancing the joy of the holidays, hope for the new year and bittersweet memories of the people with whom we can no longer celebrate can feel isolating during such a festive season. This year, however, many Western Slope residents have discovered they’re not alone. HopeWest, dedicated to supporting community members through loss, illuminated that at its first Light Up a Life event on November 28.
“[Light Up a Life] is an opportunity to be with other people in the community so you’re not alone,” said HopeWest Vice President and Chief Development Officer Debbie Horwitz. “We’re honoring everyone’s grieving process.”
A celebration of the season and a moving tribute, Light up a Life is an expansion of the organization’s Remembrance Day that puts a greater emphasis on community connection.
“Historically, the people who came to Remembrance Day lost someone in the last year. We wanted to change the paradigm and open it up to the community,” Horwitz said.
The event was held at HopeWest’s Hospice Care Center Campus, 3090 N. 12th St. Participants had the option to support the organization and honor loved ones with a luminary dedicated to their memory. After a brief ceremony, HopeWest’s campus illuminated with sparkling lights.
The lights and Christmas-themed illustrations will remain on Hope West’s campus throughout the holiday season, and Horwitz encourages community members to add the grounds to their holiday light tours.
“We want people to walk through and enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a very soothing environment.”
After the stroll, visitors are invited to enjoy a hot drink at the Artful Cup, the campus’ coffee shop, where sales benefit the organization’s mission to change the way the community experiences grief. (HopeWest also offers personalized, heart-shaped pewter ornaments. These are engraved with the name of a loved one and can be sent anywhere with an accompanying card.)
The season-long display is just one of HopeWest’s many gifts to the communities it serves. The organization offers hospice and palliative care, as well as counseling and social programs that support anyone, regardless of age or illness.
Everyone grieves differently, Horwitz said, and HopeWest honors each individual’s process. Events such as Light Up a Life enable community members to connect with each other so they’re not alone, but also enable the organization to connect with those who may need its support.
Light Up a Life will be held in Montrose on December 7 at the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S. Townsend Ave. at 5:30 p.m. The Delta event takes place on December 13 at the HopeWest office, 195 Stafford Lane, at 5:30 p.m.
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