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Tree of Life service offers way to aid grieving family

PROCTORVILLE — The Christmas season is one of the hardest times of the year for families who have lost a loved one, and on Friday a service was at Hall Funeral Home to help ease the pain of grieving.

About 200 people attended the lighting of the Tree of Life to honor and remember friends and family who have died.

Following an opening prayer and remarks by Pastor Brady Lipscomb of Ridgeview Community Bible Church in Barboursville,, West Virginia, the names of those who died were read.

People could then come forward to hang an ornament on the tree in their honor before the tree was lit.

Many of the ornaments were personalized, featuring photos or decorated to highlight aspects of the person’s life. The tree will remain on display through New Year’s at the funeral home.

Lipscomb told the gathering that there is nothing wrong with expressing grief or feeling overcome.

“Tears are not a bad thing,” he said. “Tears are a gift. Don’t rob yourself of that gift.”

He stressed the value of remembering the departed and sharing stories.

“Our loved ones have given us gifts that death can not take away,” he said. “These are gifts we can pass on.”

He said the holiday season can be a time to appreciate the value of those gifts, and told of how, in his household, a place setting is kept at the table for his departed grandfather.

“This Christmas, have a time to remember,” he said. “Each of you can share a memory. This time of year is a time of hope.”

Ernie Hall, who co-owns the funeral home along with his mother and siblings, said this was the 16th year for the event and that it takes courage for those grieving, many who come from out of state, to attend.

“It’s rewarding when families come forward to thank us afterward,” he said.

He said that celebrating the life of the deceased is a way to find their true legacy.

“Memories live on,” he said.