Memory Tree Celebration remembers the deceased |

Memory Tree Celebration remembers the deceased

Blair Bracken
Citizen Telegram Contributor
Pastor Jim Sheets delivers a sermon Sunday, Dec. 6, at E. Dene Moore Care Center’s annual Memory Tree Celebration.
Blair Bracken / Contributor |

The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for those with friends or family members who died, and with that in mind E. Dene Moore Care Center hosted its annual Memory Tree Celebration this past Sunday.

The center, located in east Rifle, has honored those who have passed away and helped fill the void felt by survivors in some fashion for the past 28 years.

Before the event takes place, an ornament with the name of a loved one can be purchased for $8 as a way to remember the life of the deceased. The ornaments hang on the tree inside the center, and a card is sent to the loved one left behind as a way to further honor the passing of the individual.

The money goes to the E. Dene Moore Care Center Resident Council Fund, a fund for the residents to allocate to local charities at their discretion.

“It goes a long way for [the resident’s] own self-worth,” said Paul Rice, activities coordinator at E. Dene Moore Care Center.

Other times, funding will be used for essential items needed in the center. Participation has varied in the past, but the event consistently raises hundreds of dollars. In conjunction with the Memory Tree Celebration, A craft fair and silent auction are hosted in conjunction with the Memory Tree Celebration. Those proceeds also go to the Resident Council Fund.

On Sunday, Christmas songs were gently played on an acoustic guitar as residents from the center and community members filed in to pay their respects to those who died.

Dustin Dodson, director of Extended Care Services at Grand River Health, welcomed all in the room and introduced Pastor Jim Sheets, who delivered a message during the ceremony.

Sheets related a sermon on how to “get through the storms of life” and how everyone weathers these storms at some point in time. Sharing our stories with others, Sheets said, helps get us through such trying times.

Faces turned down as the community considered each individual, and Sheets solemnly read each name listed on the program. The pastor also took a moment to share a memory of one of the individuals who died this year.

“Bob (Quick), he always had a joke to tell, always had a comment and was always playing cribbage,” Sheets recalled.

During one of his many frequent visits to E. Dene Moore, Sheets asked Quick if he was winning his current game of cribbage.

“And I could always tell if he was winning or losing. If he was winning, he’d just smile,” Sheets remembered. “But if he was losing, he’d keep his head down, and it would take me once or twice to ask him if he was winning. And finally he’d reply without looking up, ‘no, she is’ he’d say.”

The room lightened with smiles and chuckles as many in the room knew Quick and his personality.

“We’re family,” Sheets said, referring to the familiarity of the center’s residents and the community that cares for them.

The feeling of connection and communion in the room was evident as each person bowed their heads for prayer as Sheets ended his sermon.

Before he left, he looked around the room filled with young and old and said: “The older I get, I need more life.”

There was laughter once again, and Sheets encouraged those in attendance to share their stories, their memories, and to “remember the good things (and) space out the bad.”

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