By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — One by one, the names were read. They were names familiar to the people in attendance. They were names of loved ones who won't be with them this holiday season.
For the nearly 200 people at the Memorial Remembrance Service at the Paramount Theatre on Sunday, it was a somber reminder. But for many, it was also part of the healing process.
"I think this was very touching. It's a healing thing," said Relna Roy of Anderson. "You could feel the presence of the people we've lost."
The ceremony was about an hour long and brought together families that had been served by the Loose Funeral Home. Owner Robert Loose said he's been organizing the event since 1999 as a way to support families throughout the grieving process. While the program was designed for people who had used the Loose Funeral Home, Loose said there was an open invitation to anyone who had lost family or a loved one.
For Roy, who recently lost her mother, Juanita May Cart, she said it felt especially appropriate to hold the service right before the holidays, when the absence of those lost would likely be most strongly felt.
"I felt very close to my mother today. This is a perfect time for this," Roy said. "For a lot of people, they're getting ready for important days and they know those important people won't be around. It helps us all to know that, even though there's an empty spot at the table, there's someone there in spirit."
As the names were called, family or friends representing the deceased walked up to the theater stage to light a votive candle and place it on display in the middle of the stage. A video tribute was played as the names were read.
Shirley and Gary Harvey, who unexpectedly lost their 45-year-old son a little over a year ago, said it's been hard to move on, but supportive events like the service have helped.
"It's never easy to lose a son," Shirley Harvey said. "We miss him so much. This is the first year for us here, but we thought it was beautiful. They did a good job."
Many couldn't hold back tears as they watched the service unfold. Several prayers were said and a song of reflection was sung to close out the ceremony.
"I'm just thinking about how much I miss him," said Janice Radford, who attended in memory of her father, Ray Fox. "I'm here to honor his life. It's the least I could do. I'm really glad they do this every year."
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