Hospice essential in offering end-of-life comfort

Ask anyone who has watched a loved one or dear friend slip away how important hospice was, especially as the end approached, you’re likely to hear something along the lines of, “They were essential.”

That’s because hospice is essential in those emotionally trying times. A ceremony recently in Marquette underscored that fact.

“We want to bring everyone together to celebrate the lives of those that have passed under hospice care,” Jennie Garrett-Bureau, executive director at U.P. Home Health & Hospice, said during the Marquette County Bells for Hospice event held at the Marquette Commons. “We want to also help their families remember their loved ones that were in hospice care and have since passed.”

The event was co-organized by Garrett-Bureau’s organization with Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice in conjunction with the national Bells for Hospice commemoration. In addition, the event served as a kickoff to National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and aimed to raise awareness of hospice services, which provide care in a home or home-like setting for those who have a life-limiting diagnosis.

According to a Mining Journal story on the matter, those who attended picked out bells of varying sizes and gathered together outside to ring them as the clock struck noon that day, gathering together for a prayer with Pastor Warren Geier of Ishpeming’s Bethany Lutheran Church, who also serves as a chaplain for U.P. Home Health & Hospice. The bells rang out in unison for an entire minute, followed immediately by a singing of “Amazing Grace” that was accompanied by the bell choir, then a closing prayer.

“We have some folks here that have lost a loved one through hospice and I think it really helps that they can get out and honor and recognize their loved one,” Sue (Kitti) Rutkowski, CEO of Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice, said for the Journal story.

We couldn’t have said it better. Hospice means so much to people and their families who are facing end-of-life circumstances. The Marquette event did much to emphasize that.