On Sunday, Dec. 3, families and friends gathered together on village greens in 11 communities across Northeast Connecticut for Day Kimball Health’s 34th annual Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony. This year’s tree-lighting tradition already has raised more than $35,000 to support hospice and palliative care services in the region.
Supported by local clergy, civic organizations, community members, and Hospice staff and volunteers, the ceremonies were held in the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Danielson, Eastford, Griswold, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson, and Woodstock. Trees at all 11 locations were decorated with colored lights, symbolizing love and hope, and allowing family and friends to remember loved ones who have passed.
The purchase of these lights supports the work done by Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut, a service division of Day Kimball Healthcare at Home, enhancing the lives of seriously and terminally ill patients and their families. Skilled and experienced professionals and trained volunteers provide personalized care that meets the physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and emotional needs of each patient and their family throughout end-of-life and bereavement care.
“The annual Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony is a cherished tradition in Northeast Connecticut,” said Renee Smith, vice president, Post Acute Services, Day Kimball Health. "The holidays are a poignant time of reflection for so many families who are remembering loved ones they have lost. Each year, our community unites in this heartwarming, shared experience and we are deeply appreciative of the ongoing support this tradition offers to our hospice and palliative care program.”
The Hospice Tree of Life Ceremonies included holiday-themed music by local chorus groups as well as the sharing of personal stories about how our hospice and palliative care program has impacted the lives of those served, culminating with the lighting of the ceremonial Tree of Life.
“This heart-warming event has touched the lives of so many people in our community, giving us all the opportunity to reflect on the journey of hospice and the significance of what has become a community-wide celebration of hope and healing,” said Day Kimball Health’s Director of Development Kristen Willis. “The Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony is a time-honored tradition like no other, spanning 34 years of support from our community for the important services that our Hospice program provides to our patients and families. We couldn’t be more grateful to be part of such a generous, caring, and compassionate community.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Tree lighters gather to honor their loved ones at the 34th Annual Tree of Life Ceremony at the Eastford Public Library in Eastford, CT. From left to right: Jeannine Spink (honoring Gordon Spink), Frietha Lawrence (honoring Gary Lawrence), Jack Mullin (honoring Cheryl Mullin), and Erica Alexander, Hospice & Palliative Care Program Manager for Day Kimball Healthcare At Home.