The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Regional Hospice holds annual memorial service

 

October 21, 2019

Kim E. Strom/Daily Globe

THE BALE sisters of Ironwood perform "Precious Memories" at the Regional Hospice Memorial Service Sunday. The group performed three songs throughout the service ending with the crowd singing "Amazing Grace" along with them.

By KIM E. STROM

kstrom@yourdailyglobe.com

Bessemer - "Grief never exits...but it changes. It's a passage...not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness ... not a lack of faith ... It is the price of love ... " Elizabeth I.

The Regional Hospice Services held its annual memorial service Sunday at Mill Street Garden in Bessemer. It was free and open to anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one or family and friends of those who are grieving. There has been a yearly memorial service since the organization was started in 1992.

"It's a very special event to reflect. Grief is unique and individual," said Suzanne Ballantyne, director of social services with Regional Hospice. "We continue to care for families after a loved one has passed away," she said. "We care for them and remember them."

"It's a way to come out and light a candle for those we've lost," said spiritual care coordinator Matt Agee. "Everyone's grief journey is their own...it's ok to be sad, but it's important to breathe," he said. "Grief is isolating. Support groups give a sense of belonging and a way to get out (into the community)."

Regional Hospice Services holds a support group every third Thursday of the month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Ironwood.

"What helps is the camaraderie. It is unmatched. There is a sense of peace and calm," Ballantyne said of the support group.

Carol Matazel, bereavement coordinator, said when people thank her, she says, "No. Thank you for letting us take care of you. It's a very intimate thing. Thank you for having us."

"It's an honor and a privilege to care for those who've lost a loved one," said Ballantyne.

The ongoing support is important, according to Agee. There are holidays and lots of firsts and seconds, such as the first Christmas without someone, etc., he said.

Sally Orlich who attended the event with her sister said of the service, "It was very beautiful, healing, the poems, music and scriptures that were read. People in general sharing how to deal with the issue."

One lady told a story of how she now shares meals with her dog. "It gives her someone to cook for, and she's eating too," said Orlich. "It (grief) is different for everyone," she said. "There's no time limit. And it brings out feelings that need to come out."

There was a focus at the service of feeling peace through memories. "Because of the joy, we feel sorrow," said Agee. Of the candle lighting, he said, "While it burns it radiates light and heat. Hold the light toward healing," he said.

Regional Hospice Services are free to the public. For more information call 906-663-0308.

 
 

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