OSWEGO — Every fall season for more than two decades, the Oswego County Department of Health’s hospice team has organized a memorial service to honor and remember those who passed during the previous year. This year, due to the pandemic, guests are unable to gather in person.
Instead, the health department staff and volunteers decided to create a virtual memorial service for people to view anytime and share in their remembrance of loved ones. The memorial service is shared on the hospice page of the county Department of Health’s website at health.oswegocounty.com/hospice.
The service begins with an introduction by Betty Dunsmoor, Oswego County Hospice bereavement coordinator.
“The pandemic has re-shaped many traditions and rituals that bring comfort to those who have lost a loved one,” said Dunsmoor. “This has amplified the grief and loss our community feels. While we cannot gather physically together for our annual memorial service, we can share a safe virtual space to pause, reflect and celebrate the lives of those who have died. The grief journey is hard, but you do not have to travel it alone.”
Words of gratitude are shared by Becky Miller, hospice supervisor and supervising public health nurse for the health department; followed by “Poem of Remembrance” read by Elena Twiss, executive director of Friends of Oswego County Hospice; and “Prayer of Remembrance” by the hospice team and volunteers. Musical performances are “I’ll Fly Away” with vocals and guitar by Sadie May Reidy and Pete Hagen, and “Amazing Grace” sung by Matthew Oldenburg.
“Oswego County Hospice is a very dedicated interdisciplinary team that provides comprehensive supportive services to patients and their families at the end of life and throughout the grieving process,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County public health director. “We are committed to promoting the highest quality of living for each family, according to their personal beliefs and choices. The hospice team offers a consistent and continuing grief and bereavement support to patients, families, friends and staff while a patient is under our care and for up to 13 months following a death.”
Hospice services are available to all Oswego County residents and include nursing, medical social work, spiritual counseling and pastoral care, home health care aids, physical, occupational and speech therapy, bereavement support, medications and medical supplies, and other services. Trained and dedicated volunteers play an integral role in providing outreach and companionship. For more information about the Oswego County Department of Health’s hospice program, visit health.oswegocounty.com/hospice or call 315-349-8259.