Decorate a tree, help someone out | SierraSun.com

Decorate a tree, help someone out

Katherine Morris

Despite the bright lights, parties and presents, the holiday season isn’t always a cheerful time for many people.

“During the holidays, a person’s feelings of grief and loss are often intensified,” said Penn Barbosa, Ph.D, a bereavement coordinator and counselor for Tahoe Forest Hospice.

“Often people feel these incredibly mismatched feelings. They look at how they are feeling versus how others around them seem to be feeling and it doesn’t seem right.”

“One way to deal with that grief, though, is to find meaning in your sadness – to bring your loss inward and convert it into something meaningful for yourself,” Barbosa added.

This holiday season, Hospice is offering people a chance to do just that with a special ornament dedication.

Up until Dec. 12, people can purchase a delicate glass angel ornament from Hospice in honor of a lost loved one. Each ornament then has the name of that individual professionally etched on it.

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On Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m., a special ceremony of remembrance will be held in the lobby of Tahoe Forest Hospice.

“At that point, people can add their ornament to the try or pick it up to take home,” Barbosa said.

Not only is the event beneficial for the healing process, but all proceeds from the ornaments sold go to support hospice programs.

“Money raised from our fundraisers goes to help support people who cannot afford the services we provide,” Barbosa said. “We hate to turn anyone away here.”

Tahoe Forest Hospice – which remains the only hospice group in this region – provides a variety of end of life care and services for those with terminal illnesses, as well as support for friends, family and caregivers.

These services are primarily provided in patients’ homes to allow individuals to spend the last portion of their lives with dignity, in comfort.

Last year alone, Tahoe Forest Hospice staff and volunteers performed more than 1,100 visits to those in need, extended their service area to include the Eastern Plumas District Hospital and opened thrift stores in Truckee and Kings Beach.

Barbosa added that to this day, insurance companies and the government refuse to cover the cost of bereavement and counseling services – a key component of hospice care.

“Even though the government mandates that we provide these services, we receive no funding for it,” she said. “One of the most important things when a person is grieving, is to feel supported.”

Even if people do not wish to purchase an ornament, Barbosa encouraged community members to come out for the ceremony to honor and remember those they have lost.

“People have an aversion to loss,” Barbosa said. “It may help to know that each time we choose to approach our pain, we allow ourselves the chance to soften it’s sharp edges.”

“Because lives are measured in memories – not in years,” she added.

For more information, call 582-3534, ext. 16.