LIMA — The holidays can be a not-so-cheerful time if you’re grieving.
The grief the family experiences is something that sometimes only others who have experienced the loss of a loved one can relate to.
“We lost my father [John Mongelluzzo] in March to liver cancer. We wanted to be here especially to see all of the angels that helped us through that journey,” said Maria Sanko, of Lima.
Mercy Health - St. Rita’s Medical Center hosted its first celebration of life Thursday night bringing together, in fellowship, families who are still going through the grieving process.
“They carried us through that difficult time and prepared us for things and were there for us with questions or just to hold our hands sometimes, just get us through Dad’s journey,” she said.
“For every patient that we’ve cared for that’s passed this last year it was our privilege and our blessing to get to honor them and celebrate their life here with their family and friends,” said Katie Hunt, director of the hospice program at St. Rita’s.
More than 140 people attended the event, held in the chapel at the hospital.
The hospice team presented a program, lit remembrance candles and presented family members with angel bells.
“Grief is a funny thing. Sometimes sharing your grief and sharing your stories is healing. It’s not only healing for the families but also healing for our staff who have developed relationship with these families and their loved ones so it’s a time to kind of reconnect perhaps at the end of the year and share stories and share the love that we’ve had with them,” Hunt said.
“It’s really weird because you are so conflicted with the times remembering fun things and then you’re touched because like, all of a sudden, I miss Dad again. It’s important, I think, to be with other people that are going through the struggle we’re going through and knowing that we’re not alone in all of this. We’re all together,” Sanko said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409