For those who have lost family members and friends, Christmas can be a particularly painful time; a supposed time of celebration a reminder of their lost one’s absence instead.
In awareness of the added sadness the season brings for many, funeral homes and bereavement services in Central Otago have planned special events to help people cope with their grief.
Affinity Funerals in Alexandra held a remembrance service last Wednesday evening that included tree ornaments personalised with the names and details of those who have died.
Funeral director Clark Campbell said Christmas was a big event in New Zealand culture, and one of many “firsts” without their significant person for client families.
“We find the funeral, whether people know it or not, is just the first step,” he said.
The remembrance service, which was also live-streamed, was a way “to illustrate that we are here for any other step along the way”.
Kotuku Funerals Cromwell plan a candle-lighting service next week, December 15, for families they have worked with through the year to help them through their first Christmas following their loss.
Funeral director Leigh-Anne Fox said Christmas was a special time of year for her personally, as she had lost her grandmother on a Christmas Eve.
Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents and families, held an evening of remembrance on Monday, member Sue Tait said.
“Coming up to Christmas is always a hard time for those who have lost children, so we just gather together and talk.”