“My parents were from Utah ... so I don’t have an opportunity very often to get out there to their gravesites to be able to remember them in that setting,” Gould said after Tuesday’s memorial service at the Harbourfront Place Grand Hall in downtown Grand Haven. “So this gives me an opportunity to pause and do that — especially before the holidays, which are always a challenge when you lose loved ones.”
Each of the 209 candles lit around the Grand Hall on Tuesday night honored the memory of a family member of someone attending the service.
Deborah Chapman, a bereavement counselor for the local Hospice, said the memorial service was originally focused on Hospice patients and their families when it began about 15 years ago. But it has evolved into a community program, regardless of participants’ previous contact with Hospice, she explained.
Shirley Lemon, the choir director for Grand Haven High School, has been bringing the school’s choirs to the service all but one of the past 15 years. The school’s Choral Ensemble sang several appropriate selections during Tuesday’s service, and several of the students had candles lit in memory of family members.
“The high school choirs are all about community service and this is one of the services that we do for the community,” Lemon said. “We also perform at Rotary, we perform at Counterpart, the Senior Center — but this has become a very meaningful ceremony for the kids.”
Hospice officials presented Lemon with a special recognition at the end of the ceremony for her years of service to the community and the annual memorial service.
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For more information about the local Hospice, click here.