Remembering those who have passed on, one snowflake at a time

By David F. Rooney

In a quiet, cold but gently heart-warming ceremony, men and women gathered beneath the bare branches of the tree at the center of The Circle of Life at Queen Elizabeth Park on Sunday to remember their loved ones who have passed from this world to the next.

It was a starkly simple ritual, conducted beneath an icily beautiful clear blue sky.

“The Circle of Life is a consecrated and sacred place,” said Mary Bradshaw as she led a prayer during this haunting annual ceremony.¬†“May the prayers of each of us and all of us make this special place.”

And a special time, too. As the Rev. Ken Jones noted, this is a rare public rite that draws together people of different faiths and different background in a common spiritual cause: to honour and remember all those we have loved in life and who have passed on to await us in the next world.

In his prayer, Gary Sulz, noted that “nothing is as it appears” for death is just one more step we each must take in life.

There were many other prayers uttered at this gentle, compelling and sometimes even heart-breaking ceremony. Most were said quietly within the spaces of our hearts and souls as we shared a moment of fellowship to remember our dead.

Amen.

Here are a few images from the annual Hospice Society Snowflake Ceremony:

Vivian Mitchell speaks to the crowd of about 50 people who turned out for the Revelstoke Hospice Society's annual Snowflake Ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Park on Sunday. David F. Rooney photo
Vivian Mitchell speaks to the crowd of about 50 people who turned out for the Revelstoke Hospice Society's annual Snowflake Ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Park on Sunday. David F. Rooney photo
Gary Sulz speaks to those who came to memorialize the important people in their lives who have passed on. David F. Rooney photo
Gary Sulz speaks to those who came to memorialize the important people in their lives who have passed on. David F. Rooney photo
Geoff Battersby watches Kip Holloway grimace as he climbs atop the planter prior to clambering up a ladder to hang the commemorative snowflakes on Sunday. The two men have been hanging snowflakes at this ceremony for several years. David F. Rooney photo
Geoff Battersby watches Kip Holloway grimace as he climbs atop the planter prior to clambering up a ladder to hang the commemorative snowflakes on Sunday. The two men have been hanging snowflakes at this ceremony for several years. David F. Rooney photo
Assistants pass up the snowflakes bearing the names of individuals being remembered by participants. David F. Rooney photo
Assistants pass up the snowflakes bearing the names of individuals being remembered by participants. David F. Rooney photo
Holloway and Battersby hang the snowflakes. David F. Rooney photo
Holloway and Battersby hang the snowflakes. David F. Rooney photo
As Holloway and Battersby hang the fragile, but precious, memorials participants in this annual ritual drink hot cider to beat the cold. David F. Rooney photo
As Holloway and Battersby hang the fragile but precious memorials, participants in this annual ritual drink hot cider to beat the cold. David F. Rooney photo