For six years now, PeaceHealth has set aside a time at the end of November to remember those who have died in the past year.

I will be adding a loved one’s name to the list this year. This past week, I helped lay my sister to rest after a short, aggressive illness. My family shed tears, hugged one another, and began the work of grieving.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt has spent his life looking at how individuals and families grieve. He writes, “to be truly helpful, the people in your support system must appreciate the impact this death has had on you. … And they must encourage you to see mourning not as an enemy to be vanquished but as a necessity to be experienced as a result of having loved.”

Some of the most difficult mourning comes when we try to walk alone. The action of mourning brings healing when we walk this path with others. I will need people to “walk beside” me and provide me with “divine momentum” — a small but significant affirmation that what I am doing is right and necessary for me, and will lead me to healing, Wolfelt explains.

Our compassionate God has given us each other so that we can walk these difficult paths together.

Gatherings to say goodbye have been affected by pandemic limitations. Many friends and family members were unable to attend their loved ones’ funerals. This can postpone the important work of grieving that we all need to do.

This month we will once again be able to feel a part of our loving community as we remember and honor those who have died in the past year. PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center spiritual care and hospice teams have created a virtual space where families can share their collective losses.

We can share in this event knowing that we need each other and this recognition of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and children.

The Memorial Service will be held on the hospital Facebook page, with the ability to view it again on demand. We hope to bring respect, dignity, and reverence to the service, which will include prayers, poetry, song, and the Reading of the Names.

Please join us as we honor and remember our loved ones at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27, using the link:

I know it will be a great comfort to me this year.


Margie Adams, MA, is the staff chaplain at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.