One of the most memorable parts of putting up your Christmas tree can be unwrapping old ornaments you've collected over the years. Sunday, December 6, a group of people looked to add to their holiday collection by creating an ornament. This ornament is helping them get through the pain of losing a family member.
Heartland Hospice in Rockford held it's very first Holiday Ornament Workshop bringing 20 families together who have something in common; they have all lost a loved one.
Bette Terreberry, a participant in the Ornament Workshop, holds a fresh wound that is healing slowly. After 70 years with her husband Bob she will be celebrating Christmas for the first time without him.
Bette says, "We had a beautiful marriage and I miss him very very much."
Bob Terreberry passed away June 26, 2015. Bette was invited to the Holiday Ornament Workshop to help turn her experiences with grief into works of art.
"My two daughters wanted to make one for their daddy," Better explains, "and I wanted to make one for the love of my life."
Hollow glass is filled with a picture or special memory. Heartland Hospice says this project does wonders because Christmas can be one of the hardest times for families in mourning.
Kate Nash and Sylvia Sanderson are both Bereavement Coordinators at Heartland Hospice. They organized this whole event.
Nash says, "When people are grieving they need an outlet for that grief."
Sanderson adds, "These ornaments are a way for people to put their emotions their feelings and their memories into something that symbolizes the person that they lost."
The only thing people needed to bring to the event was a momento of their loved one to make a simple craft that stores a lifetime of memories.
Sean Hosseini, 3rd Grade teacher at Pecatonica, also participated in this event. Losing his mother July 31 of this year, his family is experiencing their first holidays without a core family member.
Hosseini states, "Making ornaments is just another way of showing that she is with us and every time we put the tree up and put this ornament on there we will know that she is with us at that time too."
Being a widow of a World War II veteran, Bette is fulfilling her husbands last wishes by giving his ashes to the U.S. Navy.
He is on a ship now waiting to be laid to rest where hundreds of his fallen brothers from the war died.
Bette explains, "He is on his way to the Coral Sea and when he gets to his final resting destination I will get a letter from the United States Navy. I cannot thank the Navy enough."
Even though her husband's ashes are far away, the ornaments that Bette created this weekend will always be close to her heart.
"I hope everybody will have beautiful memories because this is what sustains us when we are left alone." Bette states, "I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year with your loved ones."
Bob Terreberry was recognized last May for being a part of Harlem High School's Veterans Project. This project is a video documentary that students collected to have W.W.II veteran's stories recorded and forever stored within the United States Library of Congress. Bob died only about a month after his recognition.
For more information on Heartland Hospice and the events they host you can click here.