Seventy-four former patients were remembered at the Annual
North Oaks Hospice Memorial Service Saturday, Aug. 24, 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. Highlights of the service included the reading
of the names of those lost, presentation of memorial gifts to their families
and a butterfly release.
Audrey Bodker, a native and resident of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, was one
of the hospice patients remembered. Her daughter Marybeth Marchbanks of
Oxford, Mississippi and son Edward Bodker of Ponchatoula were among 70
guests at the service.
“She was the rock of our family,” Bodker proclaimed about his
mother. “She took care of all of us.”
Bodker and Marchbanks shared their appreciation for the memorial program,
describing it as meaningful and helpful in their time of grief.
“The interest and care of North Oaks Hospice does not end at the
moment of death,” Marchbanks emphasized. “It carries forward
as the emotional loss becomes more prominent.”
Marchbanks’ and Bodker’s mother suffered from multiple myeloma,
stage four kidney disease, heart problems and neuropathy. She was in hospice
for two days prior to her passing on April 10, 2019.
“We left the decision of when to go in to hospice up to Mom,”
Marchbanks explained. “She was familiar with the program since my
father had been a hospice patient two years before. “
Marchbanks expressed gratitude for the care her parents received, noting,
“We were blessed to have (hospice nurse) Patrice take care of both
of our parents.”
The program’s butterfly release held special meaning for Bodker’s
family. Their mother loved nature and gardening. Once she could no longer
weed and plant from her wheelchair, she received great joy from watching
birds feed, butterflies flit about and squirrels scamper in the patio
area she had created just to attract such animals.
Bodker spent her lifetime in Ponchatoula, where she was a teacher until
her retirement at age 65. She had many hobbies including chair caning,
basket making, cooking and sewing, and she enjoyed making things for others.
At the program, Marchbanks shared with the staff one of the baskets her
mother had made.
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 Audrey Bodker are: (from left) Hospice Nurse Trenice Coleman,
Interim Hospice Manager Cheryl Flynn, Bodker’s son Edward Bodker,
Hospice Bereavement Counselor Sr. June Engelbrecht, Bodker’s daughter
Marybeth Marchbanks, Hospice Program Assistant Lacey Norwood, Hospice
Chaplain Ty Wells and Hospice Nurse Jane Frederick. Not pictured are:
North Oaks Vice President of Patient Services Kirsten Riney, Hospice Medical
Director Steve Gaudin, MD, Hospice Social Worker II Jessica Wilkes, Hospice
Nurses Brittany Brumfield and Patrice Pellittieri and Hospice Certified
Nursing Assistants Carolyne Haynes and Elaine Varnado.