Sam Ward: For the last 21 years, Haase-Lockwood has hosted a holiday remembrance program for their community. Their preparation and attention to detail creates a meaningful memorial experience for families grieving during the holiday season.
Tim Lockwood: Christmas is probably the most family-driven holiday that we have. It started out just acknowledging families with a Christmas card or whatever, and it’s evolved into what it is today.
Kate Brugger: For this event, all five of our funeral homes come together. All of the staff, our spouses — all hands on deck, team effort to put this on. We start first thing in the morning getting into the banquet hall where we host this since we’ve outgrown our funeral homes for it. The Christmas tree is laid out into six sections that are alphabetized, and we have people RSVP to the program. So if they RSVP that they’re coming, they get placed kind of eye-level on the Christmas tree. If they RSVP that they’re not coming, we kind of place them high up so we’re not searching so hard to find the angel ornament of who is attending.
Tim Lockwood: Every year we tried to perfect it or tried to improve upon it and the big improvement came about 10 years ago when we ran across the ornament that Frazer has on the market. We found that that was the ticket that we were looking for. We had probably 300 on the tree and we probably have requests for another 150 after we take the tree down.
Daniel Lockwood: The Frazer ornament, with it being glass obviously, they hang on the tree and you got this white light that’s on the tree that lights up during the song Silent Night. The lights do shine through the ornaments and create this sparkle effect that almost gives everybody a wow effect. It’s almost like a gasp. A very brief moment of silence where everybody’s just kind of taken back by, you know, oh wow that tree is beautiful.
Mary Lockwood: It’s been very moving, I mean, people are so very appreciative. For some, they never did an actual memorial service or anything. Maybe couldn’t get the family together. Maybe for some whatever reason, that almost becomes a family that brings 20 people with them. And you got to kind of sort of think that that is their funeral service. I have seen people become very, very touched and very emotional at that Christmas service. They need to go through it. They need to — they need to grieve and some people don’t start until that day.
Kate Brugger: Working here I’ve been part of the program for four years now. And this year’s the first year that a family member of mine has been on the tree. So, my husband’s grandma passed away, and grandpa received it and was like, this is stunning. And he ended up getting eight additional ornaments for me and my cousins to place on our own trees at home. And having this ornament, which is a glass ornament, beautiful, to take home on my own tree and look at every day during the Christmas season gives us that remembrance that grandma’s with us and it’s meaningful. I mean, it’s just a special thing to have.
Daniel Lockwood: And I’ve had numbers of families say, oh I heard about this service and yes we would really want to attend. So even before I get a chance to explain what it is, they already know, so that just goes to show that there are people around here that do talk about it, people that have experienced it. And obviously if you’re getting the reaction from new families before they’ve even heard what I have to say about it, it’s a positive thing.
Mary Lockwood: It is a lot of work you don’t look forward to doing. It’s above and beyond what anybody ever expects of you, but usually those are the things that are the most rewarding things. This is everything as far as why you do what you do in life. This is something that makes a difference and that’s what makes it so rewarding.
Click here to explore our collection of crystal and glass holiday memorial ornaments.