On the first Sunday of December, the counselors of Hospice Savannah’s Full Circle Grief and Loss Center host a Tree of Light memorial gathering to remember and honor those who have passed on before us. As bereavement professionals, they know how hard it can be for someone to face the upcoming holiday season when they carry the loss of a loved one in their heart.
Hospice Savannah hosts a memorial gathering each quarter so that families can come together to remember those patients who died within the last month, and those who died a year ago. But in December, the counselors invite the whole community to the beautiful Demere Center for Living where Full Circle is housed. Chairs are set up on the outdoor patio, there is music, touching sharing of memories, and a candle lighting during which there is a reading of names of those being honored.
“Each year we have a speaker share their story of loss,” says Holland Morgan, bereavement coordinator for Full Circle, “Last year, Betsy, one of own counselors, told the story of her grief journey after her mother’s death. Her talk was entitled, ‘Even the bereavement counselor has a hard time’ and I think it was an important message to help normalize and validate the feelings that so many of us share.”
Full Circle counselors provide year-round support sessions, individual or group, to any one throughout Bryan, Chatham, Effingham Liberty and Long counties who struggles with the death of a loved one. They also offer a children’s overnight grief camp, help children affected by gun violence, support people whose loss is through suicide, ‘Grief and Holidays’ workshops and many other programs.
“Our annual Tree of Light event is not only a meaningful and important grief activity, but it also serves as a major fundraiser so we can continue to offer these services at no charge,” says Kim Stangle, VP of the Hospice Savannah Foundation. “As a hospice, Medicare obligates us to provide grief support to our patients’ families for up to 13 months after the death of their loved one. But Hospice Savannah does much, much more. Our Full Circle Grief and Loss Center depends on grants and community donations to continue its important programming. Any one who donates to our annual Tree of Light campaign will receive a brass tree ornament, have their name and their loved one’s name in the event’s program, and know that they are helping us to help others.”
To make a donation, simply visit www.HospiceSavannah.org/