PORT TOWNSEND — The empty chair at the table. The phone call that doesn’t come. The gift that is wrapped but never opened.
The holidays are often a time when the death of a family member or friend hits home.
“It’s a time when we’re surrounded by celebration and a time to get together with family,” said Keri Johns. “It’s so much harder when a person is no longer with us.”
Johns is director of Jefferson General Hospital Home Health and Hospice, which is sponsoring a community-wide memorial service at 4 p.m. Friday. Formerly held in the hospital’s auditorium in memory of hospice patients, the service has been moved to the chapel at Fort Worden State Park in hopes of drawing more people who are carrying the burden of grief through the holiday season.
“There are a lot of people who didn’t get enough of a ceremony or didn’t get to go to a funeral,” Johns said. “They would like to do something to remember people who have died, but it’s hard to do by yourself. We’re providing the ceremony.”
The non-denominational service will be led by Lee Richard and will feature harp music by Paula Lalish and a flute duet by Matina Abba-Richard and J.J.DeLeo. Russ Minter will speak on cherishing the memory of those who have died, Cliff Cadwell will talk about dealing with grief and Georgia Wood will speak on personal remembrances.
A reception with refreshments will follow the service, which is expected to last less than an hour.
————–The rest of the story appears in the Monday Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on SUBSCRIBE, above, to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.