Auld acquaintance shan’t be forgot

The holiday season is a time of celebration. It is a time for friends, family and loved ones. But for Hospice Yukon, it is the time of year to offer support to grieving Yukoners during the Lights of Life, the original support program launched by Hospice Yukon.

The Lights of Life enters its 27th year this month and has adopted the theme of “Passages” for this year’s event. Banners and plinths painted by Hospice volunteers will display beautiful quotes to complement the traditional trees.

“The tradition has stayed the same,” said Debbie Higgins, communications coordinator at Hospice Yukon. “Some people come every year.

“It’s really a healthy ritual in a tough time of the year. There’s a healing power of seeing all the tags.”

To take part in the Lights of Life individuals simply write a message on a remembrance tag to a loved one who has passed and hang it on one of the many trees around Whitehorse – locations include the Whitehorse General Hospital, Macaulay Lodge, Copper Ridge Place, Thomson Centre, Yukon College, and more.

It has become a simple and meaningful way to honour and remember the lives of loved ones people may be missing at this time of year.

This year’s event launches at the Elijah Smith Building on December 14 at 12:15 p.m.

“The opening ceremony will have the Persephone Singers and some poems and readings,” Higgins said. “Often families will come as a way to introduce children to loss.”

In addition, Higgins noted that the specialty display around this year’s theme will be located at the Elijah Smith Building and Hospice volunteers will be available to support, listen and share stories.

Throughout the year, Hospice Yukon provides many programs in addition to Lights of Life in support of grief. The variety is quite broad and they try to have something for everybody, recognizing that each individual deals with things in their own way.

One such program is the “Living with Loss” workshop that happens four times each year at the Whitehorse Library.

“Living with Loss is a program that promotes healthy living with grief,” Higgins said. “It’s a great two hour session on supporting yourself and others in times of loss. The next one will be in February.”

Many Yukon communities host their own memorial rituals around this time, as well.

The Lights of Life trees will on display until December 21. For a full listing of events and locations, as well as programming available through Hospice Yukon, visit their website at

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