PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. (KRBD file photo)

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center is preparing for its sixth annual memorial service and hospice tree decorating. These two events fall within the holiday season and are meant as a time for celebration, remembrance and reflection. Chaplain Margie Adams says these events are a way to recognize the hardships of the past two years and honor those who the community has lost.

It’s an honor to be part of the last moments of a person’s life and who they are and what they accomplished matters. Compassionate and gentle events such as this have layers of meaning for every one of us. With this pandemic, with more than 700,000 people having died, it’s important to acknowledge that communal loss as well,” Adams said on KRBD’s Morning Edition.

The memorial service will be a virtual event livestreamed on PeaceHealth’s Facebook page, much like last year’s.  This year, Adams says the Catholic hospital’s memorial service will include prerecorded elements of prayer and song that will follow a reading of names of those who have passed.

Family members and loved ones are invited to tune in on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. or later watch on demand.

Another event, the hospice tree, will also serve as a visual representation of loss and remembrance. Starting Nov. 26 in Ketchikan’s Plaza Mall, PeaceHealth’s hospice center will host a fundraiser for the hospice service, where members of the community can purchase a ribbon of fabric where they can write the name of a loved one that has passed and put it on the tree. Ribbons from past years have been fashioned into wreaths that will be hung near this year’s tree, according to PeaceHealth’s hospice coordinator, Jamie Easterly Ketah.

All proceeds from the hospice tree go towards onboarding and training new hospice volunteers. The hospice service, provided by PeaceHealth, is completely free to families. Some 20 trained hospice volunteers in Ketchikan and four on Prince of Wales Island comfort the sick in their final days.

Anyone who wants to pay their respects or donate is welcome to come to the Plaza during regular business hours starting Nov. 26th or contact the Hospice Center directly.