RIDGEWAY— “We remember them.”
With those words family members, staff, patients and friends honored residents of Tanglewood who had passed away within the last six months.
The moving ceremony included a candle lighting in honor of those people and roses were given to the family members who attended. Two chaplains officiated the ceremony with one chaplain giving an inspiring message of hope and resilience despite grief and loss that are part of the human condition.
Rehabilitation technician Felicia Bolton read poetry and CNA Avis Gillard sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
Chaplain Ron Bradley spoke of how the heart will never truly lose what it has once loved and of how loved ones touch people’s hearts and cause them to never be the same.
“Today we honor those who taught us how to live and some of whom also taught us how to die. Today we also honor the family members and the residents and the caregivers who grieve,” Bradley said. “Amidst pain and grief … well what is our hope as we grieve and go through this process?”
He spoke of the unattainable answers to why there is pain, suffering and tragedy.
“But there is hope. God is with us in our journey and with us in our grief,” Bradley said.
He spoke of relying on community support for healing and hope and that love endures no matter what one has lost.
Evoking Holocaust survivor and therapist Viktor Frankl, he reminded those gathered that they have the freedom to choose and to adopt an attitude of hope. It was that power of attitude as a choice that Frankl observed allowed people to endure during the holocaust instead of just give up all hope and die.
“We are connected to each other as a community of faith. It is a journey of companionship and of shared and relational emotions. A network of support will hold our hope for us until we are strong enough to carry it ourselves. It is a privilege to walk with you on this journey and this time together is very sacred,” Bradley said.
The memorial has become a tradition at Tanglewood as a way for the family members, clients and staff members to grieve and heal. Tanglewood is one of the few facilities in South Carolina to offer acute end of life care with the GIP General Inpatient Hospice program.
“We are reaching out because it is our way of saying we feel the same sorrow that you feel because now your family has become part of Tanglewood,” said Hazel Brown, administrator of Tanglewood.
The caring nature and the personal touches mean a great deal to Sue Norcutt of Irmo. “Tanglewood is a place full of very caring special people,” Norcutt said. She and her husband, Barry, were there in honor of Kirk Norcutt, an older brother who was a resident at Tanglewood.
As the candlelight flickered, the chaplain left those gathered with a reminder of the importance of shared grieve and celebrations: “We remember them today and carry them in our hearts. We keep their spirit alive in our own lives as we honor them and one day in Christ’s kingdom we will see them face to face,“ Bradley said.