MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.—The Hospice Care in Westchester and Putnam held their 14th annual Tree of Life lighting on Wednesday, bringing together friends and family to remember those who have been lost, but not forgotten. The evening was held in the Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco.
Members of the families of deceased patients were able to write their name on a dove and place it high on the tree, signifying their impact on the family’s life while portraying the importance of remembrance.
“It brings a warmth to me. The loss of a loved one is always a concern, but the tree brings memories back, and it brings the love of their loved ones back,” said Mary Lou Scott, a field nurse for the hospice. “And the dove is important as it represents their freedom.”
Scott was the nurse for the Wikane family, chosen as the family honored at the ceremony. Judy and father Richard Wikane were both cared for by the Hospice, and both passed away in the last five months.
For families like the Wikane’s, the winter months can act as cruel reminders of those not in our lives. The holidays, which normally bring cheer and good feeling, also drag along the emptiness felt when remembering a lost loved one.
“Holiday season’s can seem very difficult. Seeing that empty chair at the table, seeing people that we’ve loved not be able to celebrate any longer,” said Michele Quirolo, the president and CEO of the Hospice Care. “To put the dove on the tree is a positive way to start the season, and for family and caregivers to be able to not forget that person and remember them fondly.”
Nancy Williams was one of the survivors representing a lost loved one, as her partner passed away. Williams believed that the ceremony well represented what the Hospice has to offer.
“Hospice was really good to us. They came in and did everything they had to do. Without them, I don’t know what I would have done,” Williams said. “It’s a great organization that should be supported, especially since people don’t know when it will hit them.”