Hall holds 22nd annual candle-lighting ceremony
It was a small gathering in Boothbay Harbor on the afternoon of Dec. 1 and the tidings weren’t of joy but hopefully of comfort to the guests assembled at Hall Funeral Home to remember their loved ones.
Observing an annual tradition started by his family, Michael Hall, president of the funeral home, welcomed family and friends to the annual memorial candle-lighting ceremony. “The first holidays after a loss are always the hardest,” he said. “That’s why we started this tradition 22 years ago. We’re not alone and we celebrate our loved ones.”
The ceremony included music Becky Roberts played and a solo Maggie Tourtillotte sang. Each year, local clergy take turns leading the memorial service. This year, the Rev. Maria J. Hoecker, Rector of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Boothbay Harbor, spoke. She said the advent season contains “both the shortest day and the longest night of the year” and Christmas is not always joyful for everyone.
“It’s okay to cry,” she said. “The achingly tender times are a reminder that life is short. But the mystery of hope is that we look to the next day, knowing that things will get better.”
After her remarks, Hall and Lynn Orne Martin read the names of those the funeral home served in the past year as relatives and loved ones lighted candles in their memory. Harold Orne helped with the candle-lighting.
Those who wanted to acknowledge other friends and family members could light more candles. At the end, five candles remained unlit. Hall called attention to them as they were lighted, saying each represented grief, courage, memories, love and hope.
The ceremony concluded with everyone singing “Silent Night.” A reception followed and each family received a personalized glass ornament in memory of their loved one.
“Every year I hear the names being read and remember the folks who are gone,” Hall told the Boothbay Register in a phone interview. “The biggest reason we do this is to acknowledge the loved ones we’ve lost and also to acknowledge the grieving process.” Hall said anyone who would like to attend the ceremony is welcome.
He also spoke about celebrating the holidays after a loss. “Whatever your way of remembering your loved one, it’s important to keep those traditions alive.” Hall has heard from guests that it was hard for them to come to the ceremony, but afterward they were glad they came. “We know that grief shared is grief diminished,” he added.