Service of remembrance take place

LAKEWOOD – Nearly 200 celebrants gathered recently to take part in Hospice and Palliative Care of Chautauqua County’s Annual Service of Remembrance and Butterfly Release Ceremony.

“It was the best turnout we’ve ever had for one of our memorials, I’m very happy with how everything turned out,” said Bereavement Coordinator Jamie Probst, who organized the event.

The gathering began at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Lakewood, and was opened with a greeting from Hospice President and CEO Ron Sellers, and an invocation by Hospice Chaplain Rev. Cathy Smith. Probst presented a poetry reading, followed by a slide show chronicling the submitted names of 473 individuals who have died. Musical accompaniment was performed by local artists Howard Evert and Debby Smalling. Participants then traveled across the street to the Hospice Memorial Garden for the Butterfly Release. A reception was held after the event with refreshments as well as music by social workers Carna Pierce and Julie Nagel

Hospice and Palliative Care of Chautauqua County offers specialized bereavement counseling to help individuals or families deal with grief and the challenges associated with loss to anyone in the county. Additional supports such as establishing connections with community service providers or mental health services are also available.

The Service of Remembrance and Memorial Butterfly Release is an annual event offered to families in the area who have suffered the loss of a friend or loved one.

“We know that the pain of loss can leave family and friends feeling lost and alone, uncertain of how to move forward,” Probst commented. “We would like to remind everyone that bereavement support services are available to everyone in the community, regardless of when or how your loved one died, and no past affiliation with Hospice is required. If you find yourself struggling with loss, call the Hospice Bereavement Department for no-cost bereavement support.”

Hospice and Palliative Care of Chautauqua County specializes in care and services for individuals and their families in the community who are dealing with life limiting and terminal illnesses. Their team-based approach attempts help those individuals live to the fullest extent possible until the end of life. For more information call 338-0033.