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Memorial Service Vital Component of North Oaks Hospice Bereavement Program

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Nanette White
Memorial Service Vital Component of North Oaks Hospice Bereavement Program

After his high school sweetheart and wife of almost 56 years was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, Joseph Bosch turned to North Oaks Hospice for encouragement and guidance.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, his wife Mary, who passed away in April, was one of 120 former Hospice patients recognized during the annual Memorial Service that honors those who have died during the past year.

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 Hospice team of professionals focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the patient and emphasizes the importance of the patient’s quality of life.

The Memorial Service is a vital component of the North Oaks Hospice Bereavement Program, which provides support to family members and caregivers for 1 year following the patient’s passing.

“It’s a sacred time—sad, but filled with promise,” Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Sister June Engelbrecht told the group of about 80. “We’ve become part of your family and you’ve become part of ours. It’s a privilege to accompany you and your loved ones on the last part of your journey.”

Hospice assisted the Bosches for about a year during Mary’s illness, and they truly consider the Hospice team members part of their extended family.

Bosch and his daughter, Gretchen Catalanatto, both of Robert, attended the service at the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center, to remember Mary and show appreciation to the Hospice staff.

“When the door opened and Hospice came in, it was like sunshine,” Bosch shared, adding that daily calls and visits buoyed him during the most difficult times.

Evelyn Williams and her daughter, Patricia Morgan, agreed that the Hospice team became “like family” during the illness of the Rev. Ivy Williams, who passed away in September.

“They were always there for us–visiting, calling, coming to the hospital,” Mrs. Williams commented, noting that they came from Kentwood to attend the annual service, which surpassed their expectations and helped her mourn her husband.

A highlight, she added, was the video presentation, “Invincible Summer,” written and produced by Dr. James E. Miller.
Sr. June Engelbrecht, center, shares memories of the late Rev. Ivy Williams with his wife Evelyn Williams, left, and daughter, Patricia Morgan.

The video compares the grieving process to seasons, beginning with shock, then pain, comfort and eventually healing, Engelbrecht explained.

Derek Selders sang several songs, evoking memories of those who have passed and providing comfort to those in attendance. Hospice team members called the names of each late patient as loved ones were presented with framed keepsake photos. Fellowship and refreshments followed the program.

The Hospice team includes, (front row, from left) Tiffany Giluso, Tyrus Wells, Bertiel Wing, (back row, from left) Sr. June Engelbrecht, Gobel Lynn, Trenice Coleman, Charles Bigner, Kirsten Constantino, Deborah Kirby and Jason Widner. Not pictured is Patrice Pellettieri.

If you know someone coping with a terminal illness that may benefit from Hospice care, call the North Oaks Hospice office at (985) 230-7620 for a complimentary consultation with no obligation.