Nineteen years ago, Brent and Reta Tischner of Salem started a tender tradition on Christmas Eve by inviting families or individuals to light a candle to place on the grave of a departed loved one.
The event began in the Salem Cemetery but quickly spread to Spanish Fork and all the surrounding communities.
Being able to do this simple gesture on Christmas Eve for a departed loved one has had a healing effect on families and anyone participating.
The event has become so popular that a visit to these local cemeteries are as if it’s Memorial Day, as the cars are constant, in and out of the gates.
Those participating have been witness to families surrounding graves, singing, praying, laughing and just feeling that connection with their loved one, celebrating their life in their absence.
The Dave and Mindi Menlove Family of Salem have been participating since the recent death of their son and share the following:
“The first Christmas without Tadd was one of the hardest things that our family has ever had to endure.
“There were a few things that happened our first Christmas that helped our family get through the holidays without our Taddy. One was our loving family, and the other was the magical Christmas Eve we got to share with many other families who had lost their loved ones and laid them to rest in the Salem Cemetery. We knew about the lighting of the candles in Salem on Christmas Eve, and had participated by lighting some of our own in the past. Our first Christmas without Tadd put a whole new meaning of how beautiful The Salem Candles at the Cemetery really is.
“There is something about Christmas and not wanting our loved ones to be alone, and that doesn’t change just because they have passed away.
“We wanted Tadd to know that we loved him and that we were thinking about him. We made him the cutest luminaries that said ‘We Love You Taddy.’
“That night, as our family gathered with all kinds of beautiful luminaries and candles, the feeling we got was indescribable. Not only did we feel peace, we felt like we were surrounded by love. Our Taddy was surrounded by hundreds of people and the most magical scenery.
“He was not alone at Christmas and neither were we. We were surrounded by love. Not only could you see it, we felt it, and nothing comforts you more than being embraced by the feeling of love.”
There is no set time or program at your cemetery. Most cemetery gates remain open late to accommodate family gatherings.
“Anyone who would like to light a candle for a loved one on Christmas Eve is welcome to start a new tradition in your family this year. (Serve Daily submission.)