Tree Of Life Ceremony Held To Honor Loved Ones Lost In 2018
A unique ceremony was held tonight at Essentia Health in Brainerd where families were able to memorialize loved ones lost in a special way around the holidays.
For a lot of people, the holidays are the best time of year, but for some it can be the most challenging.
“The holidays tend to be a difficult time – especially if it’s your first holiday where you’ve lost a loved one,” said David Jeremiason, St. Joseph’s Foundation Director.
That is why Essentia Health puts on their annual Tree of Life Memorial Service and Lighting Ceremony in December.
“The holidays are usually the time when people miss their loved ones, and this is a time where people always remember them, and we offer it as a way to respond to that grief and to that difficult time,” explained Alex Chamtcheu, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Mission and Spiritual Care Director, who led the ceremony.
During the ceremony, attendees write the names of loved ones that they have lost on Christmas bulbs to be hung on the tree.
“We invite people who have experienced the loss of a loved one here at the hospital within the last year. We invite them to come together for a simple service to connect with others who may have experienced a loss this last year too,” said Jeremiason.
Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital started the Tree of Life Ceremony in 1999 as a way to carry out their mission of caring for people from birth until after life.
“One of the missions of Essentia is to provide care to people from beginning to end of life, and I would say beyond, and this is a way for us to say that we are with you even after your loved one died,” explained Chamtcheu.
The ceremony is an important tradition and has a huge impact on families that have lost loved ones.
“People have experienced a loss here. It may be a difficult place to come back to, but maybe coming back here to honor their loved one and to share in a memorial service is meaningful for them,” said Jeremiason.
Anyone is welcome to hang a bulb on the Tree of Life at Essentia-Health St. Joseph’s Hospital. A free-will donation is encouraged with proceeds going to support inpatient hospice care and grief support.