Remembering Our Loved Ones During the Holidays

Remembering Our Loved Ones During the Holidays

I met Dawj Sangster last year when I was a member of Six Brown Chicks. She is a Doctor of Motivation who has turned her life’s pain into purpose through her writing, motivational speaking, and serial philanthropy. Last night, Dawj hosted an “Ornament Hanging Memorial Service” to honor the lives of our loved ones lost. Guests were invited to help Dawj decorate the tree in her “Think Royally” loft space. Each ornament was placed in remembrance of lost friends and family.

Dawj hung in ornament for her recently deceased husband, James, and her sister. For James, she hung an ornament shaped like a shiny green pickle. She explained that James had spent time in Germany where he learned the tradition of hiding a pickle in the tree. The person who finds the ‘Christmas Pickle’ gets an extra gift from St. Nicholas and good luck for the whole year. I hung an ornament shaped like a house in remembrance of my deceased grandparents and two family dogs.

Dawj thought of everything. There was wine, holiday cookies, a baritone singer, and a saxophone player. She even had a health care professional at the event to speak about bereavement and the holidays. Wanda Parker from Ingalls Hospice Bereavement Services reminded us that the holidays can be a difficult time for many. Grief is a very normal reaction and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or alone. Most importantly there are resources to help someone grieving for lost ones. Ingalls Hospice in Harvey, IL has Grief Support Groups. Call 708.331.1360 for more information.

By remembering those we have lost, we keep their memory and legacy alive. As you’re celebrating this holiday season, take time to remember. Celebrate loved ones lost by hanging an ornament on your tree in their honor.


Deanna Burrell is the author of the explosive novel, Single Girl Summer.Described as “the healthy, bouncing baby that would be produced if Waiting to Exhale and Sex and the City procreated”, Single Girl Summer tells the story of three women navigating the ups and downs of life and love during one special summer in Chicago. Find out more at

Leave a comment