April 20, 2024 1:03 pm

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Residents show their respect for those lost to substance abuse under first-ever Mourning Tree

LYNNWOOD, Wash., December 11, 2023—Dozens of residents and community members gathered on a dark, cold, and rainy December 9 evening to show their respects to families who have lost loved ones to substance abuse.

They met in front of the 44th Recovery House, located on 44th Avenue West in Lynnwood, where a Christmas Tree – installed by local man Patrick Crosby – stood decorated with dozens of photos of individuals who lost their lives to drug and alcohol abuse in recent years.

Each year Crosby, who is Chairman of the Northwest Chapter of six-time UFC Champion Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, displays a Christmas Tree memorial on his front lawn adorned with photos of veterans who have given their lives to serve their country. This year, for the first time ever, he installed a second tree to honor those lost to addiction.

Patrick Crosby speaking on December 9 to families of loved ones lost to substance abuse just before lighting the Mourning Tree.

A tree lighting ceremony was held that evening at 6 p.m. featuring caroling led by the Tears of Praise band, and a moment to mourn our lost community members. The event opened with a few words from Crosby who thanked the family members, parents, and friends who submitted photos of their lost loved ones and reminded the public that there is “healing from pain.” He plans to reach out to the participating families and see about organizing a group to offer support through their grief.

Lynnwood City Council President Shannon Session and Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, joined Nayor Christine Frizzell for the remembrance.

“We’re here tonight to honor those people that are often overlooked in our community. I’ve been involved with our homeless neighbors for decades and this is my way of honoring them, let them know that we’re still in the fight to bring services to people who are tossed aside by a lot of society,” Mayor Frizzell told the Lynnwood Times.

The recovery house will continue to be adorned with several festive lights throughout the season.

“Though this undertaking is undoubtedly painful, my intention is to foster unity among grieving families and friends. Through shared experiences, care, and support, we hope to facilitate healing and understanding,” Crosby told the Lynnwood Times. “As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers.”

Crosby has been active in Lynnwood’s veteran community for many years, hosting weekly meetings for veterans, working with them with recovery from substance abuse and PTSD, and hosting motorcycle runs and MMA fights. All of the events and fundraisers put on by Crosby, by extension of Couture’s Foundation, returns 97% and a half of all money raised back to the community they serve — raising about $300,000 a year for veterans and their families.

As a former addict himself with 36 years of recovery under his belt, honoring those lost to substance abuse is a cause that’s near and dear to his heart.

“We’ve had such a great loss and the holidays are hard for a lot of people but this is just such a beautiful way that [Crosby] has made it comfortable for people who have lost loved ones to addiction, whether it’s drugs or alcohol,” Lynnwood City Council President Shannon Sessions told the Lynnwood Times. “To be able to honor that someone and put a face and a name to them – not just a number.”

Sessions, through her work as Executive Director of Support 7, a non-profit that works closely with first responders to help people during times of crises, has unfortunately seen her fair share of people who were lost to drug overdoses, particularly within the last couple of years.

She said the tree was a great way to bring people together in the community so that mourning families know there are people out there walking with them and praying for them with heavy hearts.

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