Ceremonies usher in National Hospice Month

HANCOCK – At noon Friday, those who passed away while under hospice care during this year will be honored as part of National Hospice Month.

Marianne Berghefer, Portage Health Hospice volunteer and bereavement coordinator, said Bells For Hospice is the local effort recognizing National Hospice Month.

“It’s a statewide event,” she said. “It’s to honor our patients who have passed, and to show respect to the families. Families are usually the around the clock caregivers.”

Portage Health Hospice is taking part in the ceremony for the fourth year, Berghefer said. It will takes place in the lobby of the Portage Health main building on Campus Drive in Hancock, and is open to the public.

The Bells On the Bay Handbell Choir will provide music and they will also be part of the ceremony recognizing those who died in hospice as a single bell rings once as 60 names are read.

Also taking part in the event will be Pastor David Weber of SS. Peter & Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton, Berghefer said. He will sing a song he wrote for a hospice patient with whom he had contact.

Some of the family members of those who died will be at the event, also, Berghefer said.

“We expect it will be emotional at times,” she said.

For more information about the Portage Health Hospice Bells For Hospice program, call Marianne Bergheffer at 483-1671.

Cindy Griffin, patient services director at Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health and Hospice said they will also be conducting a bell-ringing ceremony for their patients who passed away this year.

Griffin said letters were sent to local churches asking if they had any members who passed away under hospice care who could be recognized during the ceremony.

There will be a gathering Friday open to the public in front of the Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health and Hospice offices at 311 Sixth St. in Calumet, Griffin said. At noon, there will be a moment of silence followed by ringing of bells.

Cathy Lahti, director of home services at Baraga County Memorial Hospital, said they won’t be taking part in a ceremony Friday, but they are preparing for their Love Light Project, which begins in early December.