A South Carolina man held the first annual Service of Remembrance at a high school on Saturday.

As WLTX19 reports, Chris Hill, Fairfield County Coroner, held the free event to help and unite those dealing with grief during the holidays.

Hill began planning the event last year and the reflective ceremony on Facebook.

As WLTX19 reports, he said:

“God placed it on my heart to do it…Letting them know that there’s help out there, somebody that they can talk to.”

Hill has dealt with over 400 incidents of death in the last two years. To help others cope during the holiday season the coroner’s event included refreshments, musicians, speakers, and a counselor.

Hill told WLTX19:

“Everybody just can come together, you know, and just grieve together as one big family cause that’s what we are one big family.”

Attendees reflected on the memories of their loved ones and some even shared stories.

As Blavity reports, attendee Mary Brown is struggling to cope with the recent passing of her husband.

She said:

“We had been married for 54 years. I truly miss him, especially during this holiday time.”

During the event, Brown learned coping strategies to deal with her loss. AARP suggests several ways to deal with grief during the holidays. Suggestions include embracing your feelings, starting a new tradition to honor the deceased, scheduling holiday activities ahead of time and talking with other loved ones about your feelings.

If your not in the holiday spirit, it’s okay to skip the celebration altogether. Do what’s best for you.

Many of the service’s attendees experienced everything from sadness to joy during the coping session.

Vetineet Hueitt said:

“I wanted to cry, I did, but I held back the tears. A warm feeling just went through my body just a joyous occasion, it really is.”

As WLTX19 reports, Hill hopes that the Service of Remembrance will grow to be even bigger next year.

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