Yesterday, Sunday, I went with my mum to Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin for the annual Light up a Life ceremony. This remembrance ceremony has been held at the hospice every year, in early December, since 1992. From small beginnings in the early nineties it has mushroomed into an event attended yesterday by about 5000 people. Similar ceremonies are held at hospices all round the globe; because of the large numbers who attend it’s possible that the Dublin event is the largest Light up a Life gathering in the world.
At yesterday’s event there was an excellent musical programme with a number of Dublin’s best choirs singing throughout the afternoon. At five o’clock, singer Mary Black switched on thousands of lights strung around a large conifer tree growing in a corner of the grounds of the hospice. Individuals or families sponsor the lights on the tree in memory of a loved one. It was an emotional moment when the lights flickered into life under a moonlit sky and people gathered around the tree holding candles as they remembered lost loved ones. Many of them return year after year come rain, hail, snow or shine.
Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Service say on the website that “Light Up a Life has offered great solace to so many people since it began – last year some 50,000 people were remembered through lights sponsored in their name.” It’s also their major annual fund-raiser; last year Light up a Life raised over four hundred thousand euro which enabled them to continue to provide services at the same levels as they have in previous years despite cuts in the funding they receive from the Health Service.
If you would like to sponsor a light the web address for Light up a Life (in Ireland) is – http://www.lightupalife.ie – you don’t have to have any family connection with the hospice just the wish to remember someone. The hospice sells cards, decorations and a cookery book called The Mixing Bowl to help raise funds. My Mum gave me a copy of the cookery book as an early Christmas present – thanks Mum.
I enjoyed yesterday afternoon at Our Lady’s Hospice and I would like thank all those who organized the event. My special thanks to those who were so kind to myself and my Mum when we ‘mislaid’ each other, and also to Criona Cullen who answered all my questions.