PORT TOWNSEND — Each year, the Hospice Foundation for Jefferson Healthcare hospital hosts a community memorial service as a way to help those who have lost loved ones in the past year grieve as a community.
More than two dozen people attended this year’s memorial service, held at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend on Thursday.
“It helps people to reconnect to the hospice staff and volunteers but also to connect as part of the community,” said Deborah Kaldahl, practice manager at Jefferson Healthcare Home Health and Hospice.
“We’re basically just offering support to the community.”
The service started with music by local harpist Shannon Ryan. Hospice staff and volunteers spoke, sang and read the names of those who have died since last year’s service.
The Threshold Choir, a group of volunteers who often sing for local hospice patients, also performed, and Beth Orling of the Hospice Spiritual Care Team led a candlelighting ceremony in memory of loved ones.
Those in attendance were invited to pin names of loved ones and mementos on a quilt made by the Cabin Fever Quilters, who also regularly sew quilts for local patients in hospice care.
The quilt, now adorned with photos and names, will hang in the hospice grief support room at Jefferson Healthcare.
The community memorial service has been held annually since 1996, according to Kaldahl.
More than 70 people attended the first service.
The memorial is sponsored each year by the Hospice Foundation for Jefferson Healthcare and put on by hospice volunteers and hospice grief and spiritual care employees.
Currently, there are 29 volunteers in Jefferson County who work regularly for the Hospice Foundation, which is a nonprofit that sponsors special programs, provides comfort therapies and runs both the hospice care and bereavement services at Jefferson Healthcare.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].