21 DEC 2020

Virtual Tree of Memories a Success

NorthBay Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Jennifer Flam monitors comments during the Tree of Memories program.
NorthBay Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Jennifer Flam monitors comments during the Tree of Memories program.

With nearly 100 guests logged on to a CrowdCast online platform, NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement team and volunteers pulled off a successful, virtual Tree of Memories Dec. 5, honoring lost loved ones with words, names, poetry and photos.

Although the program was pre-recorded, Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Jennifer Flam worked with Senior Designer Dan Fowler out of his Green Valley Administration Center studio to monitor and answer questions and comments as they came in during the program.Volunteer Gloria Queen writes names of lost loved ones on seed paper cut into the shape of butterflies and placed on the Tree of Memories.

The theme of the year’s program, said Jennifer, is hope.

“The pandemic has presented each of us with challenges, but also pushes us together to support each other in new and creative ways,” said Jennifer. “Those who have lost a person during the pandemic to COVID-19 or otherwise, are experiencing their grief in a new context. Each loss is significant. Each loss deserves to be honored.”

Oncologist Jonathan Lopez, M.D., an Air Force veteran, paid tribute to the memory of all veterans, while retired Chaplain Gretchen Shilts told guests it’s a conscious choice to become hopeful.

Fairfield Poet Laureate Bonnie DiMichele’s poem encouraged guests to look inside the Tree of Memories to find their childlike optimism and peace.

Jeanne Dennis, executive director of Hospice & Bereavement, acknowledged 2020 as a year of tremendous challenges, noting, “I hope coming together has brought you solace, support and sustenance to reach for your deep orientation of hope in your soul.” Medical Director for NorthBay Hospice Terrell Van Aken, M.D., shared a slideshow featuring 220 names and photos of loved ones.

The 51-minute presentation is still available at www.NorthBay.org/TreeofMemories.


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