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Honor hospice with Loving Tree event

Post Independent Writer

A lot happens in this country in November. It’s the month we hold elections, celebrate veterans, and honor and create family traditions while giving thanks for the privilege of living in such an incredible nation. It’s also the month set aside for special recognition of an organization that fills a particularly valuable need in communities worldwide – hospice. For me, the road to hospice came from personal experience. I think that’s true for many of us. We know hospice exists, but until someone we know or some one we love actually needs them, we may not fully grasp what it is hospice does. Hospice is a type of care that focuses on living. It is care offered to individuals and their families who are negotiating the waters of end-of-life. It is high-quality, compassionate, focused and designed to address each individual’s circumstances, needs and desires. Hospice is a team-oriented approach that includes spiritual, emotional, medical and respite care.It’s about empowering individuals with the control to make their own decisions surrounding end-of-life. It’s about love, respect and honor. It’s about helping families cope. It’s about being present and aware and prepared. It’s about healing and building bridges. It’s about understanding and acceptance. Hospice is also about educating and encouraging people, before they are in a medical crisis, to look at end of life choices and desires. We naturally want to avoid talking about death, specifically our own. Those of us who have worked in hospice quickly learn the importance of preparing for it instead of avoiding it. When we see the pain, confusion and despair families experience when they face end-of-life decisions they’ve never discussed, and we know it can be avoided with frank discussions ahead of time, we know some of our work needs to be reaching out to help open those doors. So we also hold workshops and training that include ways to explore those sensitive areas with yourself and your loved ones before you need to act on them.Roaring Fork Hospice is a relatively small hospice; a nonprofit operating as a department of Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. Each year for the past 16 years we offer the communities we serve a unique opportunity to honor and celebrate those who have died while honoring and celebrating those who live on. It’s called Loving Tree and it truly is a celebration of life. I am encouraging everyone who is interested in, involved with or who has been touched by hospice to join us at one of three locations for this years Loving Tree ceremony.Come alone, come with a friend or bring the entire family. It’s a beautiful, heart-warming evening with music, refreshments and the lighting of the tree. You can purchase an ornament to hang on the tree or you can just come and watch. But please come. It’s a powerful way to ease into the season and maintain the spirit.Sean Jeung works as volunteer coordinator and with community development for Roaring Fork Hospice in Glenwood Springs. She can be reached at sjeung@vvh.org or 384-7531.Sean Jeung works as volunteer coordinator and with community development for Roaring Fork Hospice in Glenwood Springs. She can be reached at sjeung@vvh.org or 384-7531.


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