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Memorial Service Helps Loved Ones Cope With Loss

Memorial Service Helps Loved Ones Cope With Loss

When Harriet Cope was diagnosed with a terminal disease, she and her husband Jerry resisted the idea of calling North Oaks Hospice.

But, after her condition became more critical, friends and neighbors persuaded the Copes that the hospice team could provide the care and support they needed to carry them through the challenging times ahead.

“It was the best decision,” Cope explained. “They talked with me, prayed with us and gave us the inspiration and help we needed.”

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

Cope, along with close friends, Gail Glorioso and Laura and Roy LaCoste Jr., shared memories of Harriet at the Annual North Oaks Hospice Memorial Service on Oct. 22. The event, held in the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Centeron the Medical Center campus, honored 88 patients and their families.

“Hospice was a God’s send for us,” noted Laura LaCoste, explaining how hospice team members were always available to answer questions and provide comfort or direction when called upon.

Glorioso agreed. She recalled how North Oaks Hospice sustained her during the final days of both her husband and father.

“My husband passed away in 2013 and hospice provided encouragement for us for 6½ months,” she added. “And they were there for my father when he passed away 20 years ago.”

The Memorial Service is a special time for families to come together and share. It is a vital component of the North Oaks Hospice Bereavement Program, which offers support to family members and caregivers for one year following the patient’s passing.

Chaplain Tyrus Wells welcomed the group, acknowledging that hospice team members developed warm relationships with them, as well as their families.

“Thank you for letting us become part of your lives because you have become a part of ours,” he disclosed.

A highlight of the service was a video presentation, “Invincible Summer,” written and produced by Dr. James E. Miller. The video compares the grieving process to seasons, beginning with shock, then pain, comfort and finally healing. This pattern of grieving binds individuals together, and it is “through hurting that we are healed,” according to the video.

“Our grief has its seasons,” Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Sister June Engelbrecht told the group. “Eventually the bleakness of winter gives way to the light of spring.”

Derek Selders sang emotional pieces, conjuring memories of those who have passed and evoking tears from many of those in attendance. Hospice team members called the names of each late patient as loved ones were presented with framed keepsake photos with a specially designed mat. Fellowship and refreshments followed the program.

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.