“They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.”
Charles Dickens (A Tale of two Cities)
Christmas times are often amongst a family’s happiest memories; for many, they were indeed the best of times.
But because of the passing of a loved one or because economic circumstances had left them struggling financially, they may also be remembered by some, as the worst of times.
Ever mindful of our mission to be there for the bereaved following the loss of a loved one, Tobin Brothers Funerals again this year conducted Christmas Remembrance Services at the majority of its chapels across Melbourne.
Over a three week period, hundreds of people came together to share with other grieving families heartfelt tributes and cherished memories of those whose passing had left them with an ‘empty chair’ this Christmas.
During the services, those in attendance were offered suggestions as to things they might consider doing in order to cope with their loss during the festive season.
By the end of each evening, while enjoying Christmas cake, shortbread and coffee many of those in attendance spoke of how much simply being in the presence of others who had lost loved ones, had helped them take their next step into the future.
Tobin Brothers Managing Director, James MacLeod was a co-presenter at some of the services. “The first birthday, anniversary and Christmas are tough following the death of a loved one.”
“From where I sit our Christmas Remembrance Services are simple, practical but very powerful……people walk away with a tool set to help them get through the festive season and with the knowledge and comfort that they are not alone in grief.”
On Thursday 18 December, we staged our second Christmas Remembrance Concert at the Deakin Edge in Federation Square. The aim of this event was to provide an uplifting musical experience for everyone in attendance but particularly for those facing their first Christmas without a loved one.
On the stage was a white empty chair – the international symbol of loss and grief, and on it, at the very end of the concert, two small children each placed a single red rose in memory of those being remembered.
Reflecting on that evening later, James MacLeod said he was reminded of the words of Hans Christian Anderson who said – when words fail music speaks……
“I feel Andersen’s words so accurately describe our Christmas Remembrance Concert,” said Mr MacLeod
Choral contributions came from the superb Australian Children’s Choir; orchestral music from the Ringwood Secondary College Symphonic Band; Aldous Tria from the Victorian College of the Arts who again displayed what a superb guitarist he is, while Denis Walter and Karen Knowles were undoubtedly the individual stars of the show.
Karen breathed deep emotion into Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold and later in the concert she and Denis brought tears to the eyes of many with their reading of That’s What Friends Are For.
“My colleagues and I at Tobin Brothers Funerals, are privileged to continue to provide that friendship” said James MacLeod.
Written by Michael Lynch - Creative Communications, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Photography and Video by Matt Weedon - Creative Communications, Tobin Brothers Funerals