Jan Messick got the idea for her tree called “Gone but Never Forgotten” in a dream. After having a conversation with her husband one evening about sponsoring a tree at the 27th Annual Festival of Trees, Ms. Messick didn’t know what she was going to do… until she woke up the next morning with an idea she dreamed about – she would create a tree in memory of loved ones lost. She even knew what she was going to call it and who she needed to talk to about making it happen.
Ms. Messick, who owns Tax & Accounting Services, started contacting her friends, family, and clients to see if they would be interested in purchasing a commemorative ornament to represent their loved one, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. She asked for a $10 donation to cover the cost of sponsoring her tree. It didn’t take long once word spread about what she was doing. She purchased the ornaments and the decorations to personalize each one (stickers and other small doodads) and got to work printing out photos and names on cardstock and decorating the ornaments with items that meant something to each person who died. She ended up with a tree that represented 76 people in the community and abroad. All the ornaments will be given to the family members who ordered them. One ornament will make its way all the way to Australia!
The response to her idea has been positive, and Ms. Messick believes that she has even received appreciation from those who have passed. She has been involved with the Festival of Trees since 2008 when Calvert Hospice helped care for her mother. She and many other community members are sad to see such a long running event end, but they are hopeful that Calvert Hospice will replace it with something that continues the tradition of honoring loved ones during the holiday season.