Ninety-eight former patients were remembered at the Annual North Oaks
Hospice Memorial Service Saturday, Aug. 19, in the E. Brent Dufreche Conference
Center on the North Oaks Medical Center campus.
The Memorial Service is a component of the North Oaks Hospice Bereavement
Program, which provides support to family members and caregivers for one
year following each patient’s passing. It is a special time for
families to come together through music, prayer, scripture, words of encouragement,
remembrance and fellowship. While the reading of the names of those lost
and presentation of memorial gifts to their families continue to serve
as the cornerstones of the service, a butterfly release was added this
year. People around the world see butterflies as a symbol of endurance,
change, hope and life, according to North Oaks Hospice Manager Courtney
Morris Felder, a native and resident of Ponchatoula, U.S. Army veteran
and retiree of Shell Oil Company, was one of the hospice patients remembered.
His wife of 41 ½ years Maureen Felder and his daughter, Lois Gordon
of Hammond, were among nearly 100 guests at the service.
When asked to share her impressions of the memorial service, Felder notes,
“It was relaxed and so nice to remember each patient by name.”
Gordon adds, “It was nice to be able to experience this with my father’s
hospice team, visit with them and thank them.”
At the age of 89, Morris Felder entered hospice on Oct. 6, 2016, with kidney failure.
“When hospice was first suggested, my dad was hesitant, and none
of us knew what it would entail,” Gordon explains.
As Morris and his family soon found out, hospice would help him make the
most of his final months.
Maureen, whom he met square dancing, shares that hospice enabled Morris
to continue his active lifestyle for three months until his passing Jan.
6, 2017 – just shy of his ninetieth birthday in February.
“Morris loved to garden and tend to his collection of hydrangeas
and camellias,” Felder shares. “He also loved going to casinos,
and hospice gave him the freedom to continue his favorite activities on
his terms. He loved life and was always quick to remind the hospice staff
to call before they came over because he might not be home!
“We took our last casino trip together two days before his passing.
We ate, and he played for three hours and loved every bit of it,”
she adds with a chuckle.
That was a Wednesday, and he passed away the following Friday morning with
Hospice Nurse Trenice Coleman and Chaplain Ty Wells supporting him and
“My father died a graceful death with his entire family surrounding
him — all of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and
great-great-grandchildren. We were all there, and he knew it,” Gordon
explains. “It was not easy to be there in that moment, but I never
knew that it could be so peaceful. It was just beautiful.”
Felder describes her husband’s hospice care as intimate. “Hospice
was a total blessing to my husband, and it was and continues to be, a
blessing for all of us who are a part of his legacy,” she explains,
adding that one of four expected great-great-grandchildren and great-grandchildren
was born the day after Morris passed away. “He knew about all four
of them and the names that were picked out for each.”
Hospice is a special kind of care given in the home that provides support
in a sensitive manner for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The North
Oaks team focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the
patient and emphasizes the importance of the patient’s quality of life.
If you know someone coping with a terminal illness who may benefit from
hospice care, call the North Oaks Hospice at (985) 230-7620 for a complimentary
consultation with no obligation.
Remembering Morris Felder are: (first row, from left) Hospice Program Assistant
Lacey Norwood, Hospice Manager Courtney Ridgedell, Hospice Chaplain Ty
Wells, Felder’s daughter Lois Gordon, Felder’s wife Maureen
Felder, Hospice Bereavement Counselor Sr. June Engelbrecht, (second row,
from left) Hospice Certified Nursing Assistant Elaine Varnado, Hospice
Social Worker II Jessica Wilkes, and Hospice Nurses Jane Frederick, Trenice
Coleman and Patrice Pellittieri. Not pictured are: North Oaks Vice President
of Patient Services Kirsten Riney and Hospice Certified Nursing Assistant
North Oaks Hospice Social Worker Jessica Wilkes participates in the butterfly
release culminating the Memorial Service Aug. 19.