Trees of Life light up Quiet Corner

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Dec. 10, 2012

Tree-lighting ceremonies were held in Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson, Woodstock, Griswold, Plainfield, Canterbury, Brooklyn, Danielson, and Sterling, on Dec. 9, at 5 p.m., to commemorate loved ones lost. The simultaneous lightings, sponsored by Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut, are a tradition dating back 23 years.

According to Day Kimball Healthcare Development Coordinator Nicole Missino, the names of more than 1,600 people were included on this year's programs. “It's impossible to do a light for each person, but it is a symbol,” she said. Missino estimated that the ceremonies would draw between 50 and 100 people at each of 10 locations this year.

The money donated to the program helps provide services that aren't covered by a patient's insurance, including reflexology and massage therapy, transportation and materials such as handbooks and guides for patients and their families. As of Dec. 7 this year, Missino said the Tree of Life donations totaled almost $32,000. “The money keeps coming in,” she said. “We get donations into March. Last year we raised $33,000.”

Hospice nurse Sue Antonelli attended a ceremony honoring Rose Williams, a former patient. “Hospice can bring quite a variety of things to people,” Antonelli said. “We allow people to die in the place of their choice, which is often their homes. We provide excellent symptom management. We support the family. We're compassionate. We try to make every day a quality day.”

Day Kimball Healthcare Board Member Jack Burke welcomed the crowd that gathered at Davis Park in Danielson. “It's a tough time of year to be celebrating the leaving of your loved ones,” he said. “It's also a time to get together with people who have like experiences and thank God for the period of time they were here, and to lend support to each other.”

The Rev. Jonathan Chapman of the Westfield Congregational Church gave the invocation. “God of hope, help us to open our arms to those experiencing a loss this season,” he said. “Help us be a comfort to others.”

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