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Hospice holds memorial service

April 10, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Framed and loose pictures of loved ones, a scrapbook, a Bible, a pillow and a green robe were among the mementos family members took to the Church of the Holy Trinity on Monday night to remember their loved ones.

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Sitting in a chair and wearing the green robe is how William and Eric Arnicar said they remember their father, William Arnicar, who died Dec. 30, 1999, after a four-year battle with cancer.

The brothers and their mother, Diane, said they couldn't have made it through Arnicar's illness without the support of Hospice of Washington County Inc., which held the annual memorial service.

"No matter what time I called or what I needed they were there," said Diane Arnicar, of Gapland. "They're everyday angels and they're always there."

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The Arnicars were among approximately 100 people who attended the hospice's 18th annual memorial service.

During the hour-long ceremony a candle was lighted as each of the 164 names was read.

"I think an individual candle lit for everyone lost made it very special," said Teresa Startzman, who attended in honor of her father, John Groves Jr., who died in January of cancer.

"Every comforting word that we hear helps. I thought it was a really beautiful service," said Startzman's mother, Bonnie Groves, 59, of Downsville.

Having her mother's name said aloud and being there to hear it helped Charlene McCumons, 56, of Smithsburg.

Talking about her mother, Zella Sawdon Frusher, McCumons said she realized her mother's 90th birthday would have been next month.

Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are just some of the times hospice workers and volunteers stay in touch with family members of patients who have passed on.

"When a patient dies, we just don't leave," said Sue Taylor, hospice's executive director.

Hospice keeps in touch with family members for the following 13 months to help them get through the grieving process.

Startzman, Groves and McCumons attended a six-week grief support program provided by hospice.

During her father's illness, Startzman said hospice provided home health-care workers, nurses and volunteers who came by to offer support and respite.

"It allows you to keep (the loved one) at home if possible," Startzman said.

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