Families gather to remember loved ones at hospice service

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Outside it was cold and snowing, but inside St. Edward’s Catholic Church there was the warmth of togetherness and remembrance.

Staff and families came together Tuesday night for the 14th Annual Memorial Service for the Austin Medical Center Hospice program. It was a time for families to gather, remember and simply be with one another.

For families who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. It’s a milestone of sorts, according to Tammy Snee, nurse manager for home care and hospice.

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“It’s a time for togetherness during a difficult time of year for your families,” she said prior to Tuesday’s service.

The service is low-key, punctuated by a candle-lighting ceremony and the reading off of the names who passed during the year.

“The staff members read the names and after every 10, they ring a bell,” Snee said. “It’s a chance to remember.”

Shari Mason, chaplain for the AMC Hospice program, also spoke and she touched on the important work done by hospice.

“The chaplain talks about the therapeutic work, she talks a about celebrating life and how it is a privilege to work with the families, and work with the patients,” Snee said.

Also on hand was Dr. Tim Ritz, medical director for hospice.

But the program was more than just remembering. It was also a chance for families to once again be with those who extended such a helping hand to their loved ones through the hard process.

Hospice volunteers, nursing and pharmacy staff, and all the support staff were there with the families — remembering.