Event aims to give families closure

Freedom New Mexico: Thomas Garcia Daryl Harris hangs an ornament in memory of his wife, Betty Jo Harris, during Thursday’s 25th annual “Celebration of Life” sponsored by the Plains Regional Medical Center Home Health Care/Hospice.

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Area families honored loved ones who have passed away in 2009 at Thursday’s 25th annual “Celebration of Life” sponsored by the Plains Regional Medical Center Home Health Care/Hospice.

Ten families gathered at the Best Western-Clovis Inn’s Meeting Room. The medical staff that cared for that loved one at Plains Regional Medical Center Home Health Care/Hospice attended the ceremony to offer support to the families.

Finding closure is what the celebration is about, said Debra Vistine, event organizer.

“It is hard; every day it is hard,” said Daryl Harris, whose wife passed away in August. “I miss her cooking, her laugh, talking and just spending time with her.”

Harris said he has been taking it one day at a time. He said it has not gotten any easier but he is hopeful the ceremony brings closure.

“It gets a little harder around the holidays,” Harris said.

There was a Christmas Tree of remembrance and candles were lit in the honor of the loved one.

The names of those who died this year were read and members of the families. There were 71 people honored and for those whose family could not attend a member of the medical staff hung an ornament on the tree in their honor.

“The loss of a loved one is always hard,” said Nola Pawol, event organizer. “The holidays are one of the hardest times for those who have lost a loved one.”

When Harris’s wife’s name was called he was met at the tree by hospice workers who cared for her and hung the ornament on the tree.

Harris returned to his seat and watched as others hung the ornaments and began to cry as the ceremony drew to a close.

“I hope this helps to bring closure,” Harris said.

Pawol said the event helps bring people together to remember their loved one, share their stories and meet others that understand what they are going through.