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REF NO.: 91

SUBJECT: Memorial University to hold candlelight service
DATE: Dec. 5, 2011

Memorial University’s School of Social Work, along with Memorial’s Chaplaincy and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) NL, will host an annual memory candlelight service to support family and friends during the difficult holiday season.
Kim Kelly, student services co-ordinator at the School of Social Work, initiated a memory candlelight service in this province to honour those who have been lost to suicide after learning about a similar memorial service in Ireland. Ms. Kelly lost her brother Brendan to suicide 11 years ago.
 “I have learned to appreciate things differently,” she said. “I feel for what Brendan has missed and I try to embrace life every day. I recognized that I needed to reach out to those who have also been impacted by suicide.”
As a volunteer, Ms. Kelly is often contacted by people who are dealing with the suicide of a loved one.
“If I can offer proof to anyone that it is still possible to carry on and live a full life after the suicide of a loved one, then I am honouring Brendan’s memory,” she said. 
The non-denominational, non-judgmental service includes poetry, tributes, words of wisdom and music by Shelley Neville and Peter Halley. Participants light candles and bring photos. Refreshments and conversation follow.
“It’s okay to honour and remember your loved one in the same way as anyone who has died,” said Ms. Kelly. “We celebrate their life. The focus is not how they died.”
One message Ms. Kelly would like to impart is that there is hope – there is healing.
 “There are others who understand, so reach out. We can help you find resources to assist you during this difficult time.”   
The memory candlelight service will take place on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Chapel, St. John’s College. Free parking will be available in area 22. To access this lot, take Morrissey Drive by the Earth Sciences building and follow it past the Business Administration building until you come to lot 22 on the right.

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