ProMedica Hospice serving North Central Ohio was able to keep a 33-year memorial tradition alive, even during a global pandemic! Emily Foreman, bereavement coordinator, details planning the event, why it was important to continue and what the event looked like this year compared to previous years:
“Planning a memorial event during a pandemic definitely took some thinking outside of the box. This memorial event has been taking place for so long and I knew it was important that the tradition continued to be honored in a safe way that allowed for proper social distancing. Our team went back and forth on how we wanted to host the event and the idea of the drive-thru came about after many other versions had been pitched and tweaked. The idea of a Tree of Life came to me because I think that we have all learned how connected we really are, even when we can’t be physically present with one another. This is especially true for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.
The turnout for the event was even better than we expected, with about 55-60 cars in attendance. After the event, many family members mentioned that they enjoyed the event because even though it wasn’t the typical in-person event, they were still able to remember and honor their loved ones. Some families even shared that they drove around the town afterward looking at other Christmas lights, sharing memories and listening to music. I found that to be an unexpected bonus of additional family bonding during this incredibly hard time in the world.
The tree with memorial ribbons will be up all month which allows family members who weren't able to make it to the event to come and hang their memorial ribbon at their convenience. It also allows family members to come back and visit the tree throughout the month, if they would like. Families really surprised us with the additional decorating they did to their ribbons and all the love that was poured into them.
Overall, we are very happy with the unconventional event because it showcased how when can support one another, even when times are hard.”