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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Loved ones remembered at service

 

December 26, 2019 | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Candles were lit for those who had passed away.

Basham & Lara Funeral Care in Shafter held their annual Holiday Memorial Service recently, giving loved ones a chance to recognize those that they have lost this past year.

The community gathered to honor family members who are no longer with them, letting them celebrate their lives, as well as giving helping them in the grieving process.

A large tree was at the Dec. 18 ceremony, filled with personalized ornaments with the loved ones pictures on them. At the end, the family members were invited to take the ornament of their loved one home with them.

Pastor Pat Coyle of the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church opened the ceremony with a prayer, which was followed by a Christmas carol. Coyle then gave the audience some thoughts for the season, telling the attendees that it is okay and natural to grieve during this time, but it is also a time of celebration, knowing that their loved ones are having a very special Christmas in heaven.

Bule Garcia recited a poem, "My First Christmas in Heaven." The piece told of a loved one who had went to heaven and describes the glorious scene. He tells his loved ones that he knows that they are hurting and have pain inside their heart, but tells them that he is not far away and is still in their heart, and encourages them to remember that he is having a wonderful Christmas with Jesus this year.

Father Raul Sanchez, of St. John Evangelist Catholic Church in Wasco, spoke about loss and how it is okay to shed tears for those that you have lost. He said that he encourages those who are experiencing loss to grieve, and that it is natural to shed those tears, as they will help the healing process.

A Holiday memorial DVD tribute was shown, with all of the loved ones who had passed in the pictures, giving their loved ones a chance to shed a tear and a smile of remembrance.

Pastor Saul Gonzalez, of Lifehouse Church in Wasco, gave the audience some comforting words to help them grieve during this time. He said that the holiday time is especially difficult for those who have experienced loss. But he said that to find comfort in knowing that their loved ones are celebrating up in heaven, at peace and joyous in their new home.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Ornaments, this one for Eleine Soriano, were placed on the tree.

Candles were lit for the loved ones who had passed away during the past year. All attendees were invited to light a candle for their loved ones, filling the sanctuary with a glow. Sanchez performed the benediction as the ceremony came to a close.

Many in attendance said the service served as a comfort. Mary Casillas, who had lost her mother this past year, said, "This service was wonderful. It was nice to be in a place with other people who were grieving like me, helping us handle this difficult time. The first Christmas is so hard to deal with. It seems everything we do brings back a memory, and the tears start again."

Casillas said that she found comfort in the knowledge that it is okay to cry. "Sometimes I feel like the pain will never go away. But, crying seems to help lessen the pain a little bit. I am so thankful for this service, giving me a chance to grieve and even smile when I remember all of the great times we have had."

 

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