Light up a life to burn bright tonight

Community members celebrate relatives who have passed away
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Anne Lyons knows there will be some tears this Christmas, but she still wants to light up the memory of her mother’s life. This is the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice Manager’s first holiday season without her mother since she passed away from heart failure. Lyons plans to join other members of the community Monday night at The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn for Light Up a Life. “This will be the first Christmas for me that is from childhood where my mother will not be there,” Lyons said. “When you are doing this for the first time, without a parent, or child God forbid, it just isn’t the same. I think one of the things our program does is bring you together with other people.” Over a hundred candles and personalized ornaments will set the room aglow as those who have lost a loved one gather to remember them. The sounds of a harpist, pianist, the Auburn Area Honor Guard and the Colfax High School Chamber Choir will create peaceful music. Speakers will share messages of hope and the symbolism of Light Up a Life. “There is not a dry eye in the house when they sing silent night,” Lyons said. “We don’t look at it as being ruined, but changed. Things are different and we need to acknowledge and accept that.” Decorating personalized ornaments is one way attendees can honor someone who has passed away. The globe-like ornaments have a cap on them so that the inside can be decorated and filled. Lyons said pictures are a popular trimming. She plans to put a thimble in hers to pay homage to her mother’s passion for needlework and sewing. The free event is being sponsored by Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice, Chapel of the Hills, Lassila Funeral Chapels and the Auburn Oaks Care Center. Vicki Harris is coordinating Light Up a Life. She said the holidays can be especially difficult for people who have lost a loved one. She said the goal of the event is to give them a way to express that grief, but ultimately find peace and joy through honoring their loved one. “Everyone who comes just goes away with such a feeling of peace and joy, at least that’s what we hear,” Harris said. Harris’ family lost her father-in-law this year, so they are all traveling to Auburn to attend Light Up a Life together. Wendy Thibeault, administrative support at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice, has attended the event in past years. “It’s decorated very beautifully and I just think the whole event just kind of sets it up to welcome people,” Thibeault said. “It’s just a nice way to start the holidays. It’s a way to bring the joy back. It’s very uplifting. It’s not a sad event.” Reach Sara Seyydin at ______________________________________________________ What: Light Up a Life When: Mon., Dec. 5. 6:30-8 p.m. Where: The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center, 2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn Cost: Free to the public Event Details: A special evening of remembrance, music and reflection for those who have experienced a loss, hosted by Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice, Auburn Oaks Care Center, Lassila Funeral Chapels and Chapel of the Hills.