Memorial tree remembers loved ones

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2005

For those who have lost loved ones, the holiday season can be a bittersweet one.

There’s the empty chair at the dining table, the name no longer on the Christmas gift list.

A local mortuary offers a novel way to remember those friends and family members who are no longer with us this Christmas season.

Harrison Funeral Home on the Greenville By-pass has a memorial Christmas tree in its front lobby. This is the sixth year the business has put up the special tree, owner Dusty Harrison said.

&uot;We weren’t sure at first if anyone would be interested in doing this – but we have gotten a good response over the years,&uot; Harrison said.

The funeral home began hanging the ornaments brought in by local residents on Dec. 1. The tree now gleams with dozens of special decorations – gold and silver angels, snowflakes, stars, colored glass balls, miniature churches, crosses, dancers and much more.

Each ornament is marked with the name of a loved one being memorialized. Some of the decorations

also feature photos, and even recorded messages, remembering the departed.

&uot;Some of the ornaments really don’t have anything to do with Christmas, but they are a great remembrance of that particular person,&uot; Marvin Jackson, a funeral director at Harrison, said as he pointed out tea cup and knitting basket ornaments.

Jackson estimates the tree currently has some 125 ornaments &uot;and we are rapidly running out of space.&uot;

That won’t be a problem for the funeral home.

&uot;If we need to, we’ll just put up another tree,&uot; Jackson said.

The staff at Harrison welcomes anyone who wants to memorialize a loved one with an ornament.

&uot;There are no strings attached. We don’t take any

personal information, or give out pamphlets. It doesn’t matter who conducted the funeral services or where the person passed away,&uot; Jackson said.

&uot;We simply want to give people a chance to come by, hang their ornament and honor their loved ones. It’s a way for that person who has passed to still be a part of the Christmas celebration – no strings attached.&uot;

Jackson said the memorial Christmas tree will remain up through Jan. 1.