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A Candle for Loved Ones Lost

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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The holidays are a wonderful time filled withbrmaking memories with friends and family. However, for those who have lost lovedbrones, the holidays can be difficult because they can often serve as a reminderbrthat someone is missing.

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For many residents, including Payson native,brAngella Martin, taking time to remember loved ones has become a holidaybrtradition. Each Christmas Eve, she and members of her family go to the PaysonbrCemetery to decorate the graves of loved ones lost.

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“I grew up in Payson and have a lot of loved onesbrwho have passed on who are laid to rest in the Payson cemetery,” Martin said,br“Years ago my mom and my aunt started the tradition of lighting up the gravesbrof our loved ones, by decorating and putting candles and battery powered lightsbron them. A lot of times the police would show up at the cemetery and wonderbrwhat they were doing in the cemetery after dark. My dad passed away from acutebrmyeloid leukemia the day before my birthday in March 2017, and last year me, mybrmom and sister made beautiful wreaths to put on the grave sites of our lovedbrones. Every year on Christmas Eve it is amazing to see more and more people atbrthe cemetery all day long lighting candles, crying, laughing and just lovingbrtheir loved ones.”

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Keri Andrus is among those lighting candles atbrthe Payson cemetery, and she said she learned about it from a newspaper articlebrseveral years ago.

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“Our family started the Christmas tradition ofbrgrave candles last year,” Andrus said. “We brought a bunch of small candles andbrleft one on the graves of family. For us this includes family we knew in ourbrlifetime and several generations going back to pioneers. I’ve heard some peoplebrwill visit more than one cemetery, but for now we just do Payson. We leave thebrcandles lit on each grave Christmas Eve and retrieve them on Christmas day.”

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Spanish Fork residents Kristin Bowen and KeribrAndrus both lost loved ones whose graves they visit on Christmas Eve as well.

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“My husband lost his father Jack Earl Bowen at anbrage no child should: 6-years-old,” Bowen said.

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“We light a special candle on his grave everybryear to keep his memory alive for our children, Victorya and Jack Bowen, whobrlove hearing special stories of their Grandpa Jack to this day. This is whybrthis special tradition means so much to this Bowen family.”

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Andrus, who lost her younger sister six yearsbrago, when she was just 34-years-old, said she feels it’s important to keepbrloved ones included in the holiday traditions even after they’re gone.

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“Visiting my sister’s grave is a way of bringingbrlight to them and us,” Andrus said. “It makes their headstone look beautifulbrlike a Christmas tree, and it shows respect and love to the person who hasbrpassed on, keeping them in the loop of the celebration of Christ’s birth.”

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Angella Martin of Payson encouraged others tobrtake part in this tradition.

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“If you haven’t done it yet, and you have loved ones laid tobrrest, you should start this wonderful tradition with your family,” she said.br“If you don’t have a loved one to visit, take a drive on Christmas Eve past thebrcemetery just before it’s pitch dark, and you’ll see the whole cemetery lit up.brIt really is so beautiful.” (Brown is a Serve Dailybrcontributor.)

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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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