Trees store special, loving memories
‘‘We have tissues down here,’’ says Arohanui Hospice volunteer, Ken Thomas.
Ken is on duty at the ‘twin pines’ outside Farmers in the Plaza. It’s the second year the Trees of Remembrance have been set up at the store, providing a place where people can attach a memory of someone special – someone they sorely miss. It’s a loss that can be especially heartrending and poignant at Christmas time.
And the tissues? They’re kept on a shelf inside the booth.
‘‘Sometimes people make a donation to hang a card on the tree, but they have to take the card away with them because it’s just too emotional,’’ Ken says.
Last year, he recalls a family coming to the tree – a grandmother, mother, daughter and grandchildren.
‘‘A boy wanted to fill out a card for his grandpa and asked if it could be placed right at the top of the tree. At that moment one of the Jets basketball players was just passing. He took the card and put it up there for him.’’
It was an emotional connection. Cue the tissues.
‘‘Sometimes people make a donation to hang a card on the tree, but they have to take the card away with them because it’s just too emotional’’ Ken Thomas Arohanui Hospice volunteer
Last year, the Trees of Remembrance set up in Palmerston North and in Levin raised $23,000 in donations for the hospice. Officially launched last week, the trees have been up since November 16. Festooned with the decorative cards, donations are already more than halfway to that total.
The launch was attended by Turbo Man, who left his own message for departed rugby star, Jonah Lomu.
Arohanui’s Clare Randall says there are also designer Christmas baubles by Letitia Lam and Michael Tuffery, and Christmas CDs by Tim Betteridge for sale, with all proceeds going toward meeting the $2.2 million shortfall the hospice has each year.
‘‘We’re really grateful for the support from Farmers, it’s just amazing.’’
Farmers store manager Kevin Crawford says the cards represent caring community connections from people and families who have experienced first-hand the services hospice provides.
The cards and their messages will be redisplayed at the hospice during January, before being collected up and cremated, with the ashes scattered at a special remembrance service..