At Hospicare we provide palliative care, hospice and grief support to all residents of Cortland and Tompkins counties.
Illuminations, our annual community memorial, is a part of the fabric of our community, allowing us to honor and remember loved ones who have died. Every year, we offer this memorial service as a way for the community to come together and grieve our losses.
Due to Covid, it was a hybrid event this year. A small group of our staff was able to hold the ceremony in the Hospicare gardens – the ceremony was livestreamed for guests via Zoom.
On Thursday, June 10, we lit luminaries across Hospicare’s grounds, each light representing the loved ones we remembered and celebrated for the contributions they made to our lives. The ritual was presented by members of our incredible staff: Joe Sammons (executive director), Edna Brown (social worker), Rebecca Schillenbeck (spiritual care provider), and Rachel Fender (social worker). We honored the parents, children, siblings, grandparents, family members and friends who helped shape us and our worlds.
In closing, Rachel Fender shared a poem that captures the beauty and power of collective healing. It is titled “If the trees can keep dancing, so can I” and is an adaptation of a poem written by Nancy Cross Dunham.
What I’m learning about grief
is that it sits in the space between laughs
comes in the dark steals the warmth from the bed covers threads sleep with thin tendrils
is a hauntingly familiar song,
yet I can’t remember the words…