By David F. Rooney
Every year Revelstokians gather at Queen Elizabeth Park to share the burden of their private grief during a few moments in quiet prayer and companionship.
It’s a poignant moment that helps those of us who gather at the Circle of Life Tree break through the darkness that afflicts us as we remember our loved ones who have passed from this life to the next.
This past Sunday, December 7, 32 people met for this lovely ritual.
After a brief greeting by Hospice Society president Robyn Abear, former president and long-time member Vivian Mitchell read this lovely prayer, which was used to dedicate the Circle of Life tree in 1997:
May the prayers of each of us and all of us
make this a special and a sacred place,
a place of peace — a place to cherish precious
memories and the gift of life.
May those who come here in the gentle breeze
of springtime find hope and consolation in the
new leaves of another season of life.
May those who come in the heat of summer
find shade, a cool and quiet moment in the
heat of life’s journey/
May the blaze of autumn colours take away
the fear of winter cold for all who visit here
with cherished moments.
For all who come in the stark of the winter of life may
this place hold out the promise of spring and the
bright promise of immortality as we remember
those we loved and those who have loved us.
We trust our prayers of rededication will be
heard and so continue to make the Circle of Life
a consecrated and holy place. May all who
come here to remember gestures of friendship
and happy times shared with family and friends
find true and lasting peace.
Gill MacLachlan shared a prayer she said helps her get through black days:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
Gary Sulz read a poem about soul mates and Rev. Ken Jones of the United Church led participants in a song that resonated with the snowflake theme of the annual ceremony.
Just as we recognize that every snowflake is unique so, too, do people know that our loved ones who are gone were themselves uniquely different, he said.
That moment of recognition came just as people wrote the names of their late friends and family members on paper snowflakes that now dangle from the branches of the Tree of Life, reminders that while they may be gone from this world they remain vibrant and alive in our memories.