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Tree of Life lighting in Missoula remembers loved ones

Missoula Tree of Life
Posted at 8:02 AM, Dec 07, 2022

MISSOULA - The holidays are often the happiest time of the year, but it can be difficult without our loved ones which is why Partners in Home Care has made it a tradition in Missoula to remember those we have lost.

People gathered on Tuesday evening at Rose Memorial Park in Missoula for the 35th annual Tree of Life event, a ceremonial lighting of the hospice tree in honor of those who have died this year. The event is put on by the non-profit healthcare provider Partners in Home Care.

This was the first tree lighting to be done in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for those who have lost loved ones. It’s one of those kinds of milestones, particularly Christmas,” explained Partners in Home Care Chaplain Jack Rowan. “So, we thought it would be really good to come together and offer support for each other. To have something that would recognize both the darkness of life as well as the light.”

“[In] 2001 I met Barb, and in 2001 we got married, and married [for] 20 years. She died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm,” said Russ Franceitch, who attended the event. “And we just keep moving on forward, we just keep moving forward, and that’s what I do. And so, this is just good, this is just good.”

Following the ceremony, people gathered at St. Paul Lutheran Church for a memorial reception.

The hospice tree will be lit all through December.