Since 1993, Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center has honored those that have passed with the Annual Golden Leaves of Christmas Memorial Program. The 29th annual ceremony, which will honor all those that have passed through Melton’s care in the last twelve months, will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13.
Bruce Blankenship, a licensed funeral director who has been with Melton for 40 years, started the Annual Golden Leaves of Christmas Program nearly three decades ago as a way to reach out to the families of the Melton community as the year drew to a close.
“As we all know, losing a loved one is an ongoing journey of emotions,” Blankenship said.
“Holidays are a time of joy for so many, yet great sadness for those reflecting on loss…One would like to think it helps to stop for an hour or so on a December afternoon and be in a setting with people going through the same thoughts and emotions you might be going through and reflect on those that have passed. Everyone’s feelings are different, but love and loss are universal languages for those who are grieving.”
According to Melton’s Funeral Director Renee Duncan, this year’s tree will pay tribute to the life of more than 350 individuals that passed through mortuary’s care in 2020. In previous years, the names have been written on gold and silver snowflakes, which are given to the family following the ceremony.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s event is limited to 50 attendees and all seats must be reserved before the ceremony. The event will be viewable on Facebook live for those who cannot attend in person.
“It’s always an honor and a privilege to be able to hold these types of memorial events, especially right now with COVID,” Duncan told Lootpress.
“We are very happy to be able to do this for our families. We want them to know that just because they came in for a loved one and they walk away that we haven’t forgotten about them. The families really appreciate it. They are very grateful, and it makes them feel special. We know how hard the holidays are, but their loved ones are not forgotten.”
On December 13, the public can watch the ceremony via Facebook Live on the Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center Facebook page.