Tree of Remembrance is a Symbol of Hope and Memories for Grieving Families

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Tree of Remembrance

Tree of Remembrance: Notes of hope, written on leaves, fill branches at the annual Service of Memory & Hope at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

The holiday season, generally a happy time for most people, is a very difficult period for families and individuals suffering from the loss of a child or loved one. Each year, the Spiritual Care team at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach holds a Service of Memory and Hope to pay tribute and honor those that have passed away. Rev. Sharon Yagerlener, chaplain, Miller Children’s, led the group of more than 100 mourners with prayer, music, inspirational stories and a time of remembrance.

“Being in this constant hospital environment, we understand the grief and loss that our families feel each day,” says Rev. Yagerlener. “We hold the Service of Memory and Hope every year to let our families know that we are here for them and that we all remember their loved one. Some come remembering a husband that passed away after 60 years or marriage, others a baby that passed away at only a few days old. Whoever they come to honor, we are here to support them.” 

The service is designed to have attendees reflect on the past, learn to live in the present and have hope for the future. To demonstrate to the community that hope can help rebuild, attendees placed a message of hope on a “Tree of Remembrance” in homage of their deceased family member and to give hope and support to one another.

Family members are joined by physicians, care team members, volunteers and the entire Spiritual Care team. These representatives often have gone through the entire journey of losing the loved one side-by-side with the family.

“For physicians and the clinical care teams, losing a patient is often like losing a family member,” says Divya Joshi, M.D., chief medical officer, Miller Children’s. “We remember our patients. They all have touched our hearts and have changed our lives. It is nice to see everyone come together as a community to provide hope for those that have lost a loved one.”

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