Hospice of Southern Kentucky dedicates tree to loved ones lost

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Thursday before Memorial Day weekend was a day to not only honor those who've served, but for all loved ones who've since passed on after their journey ends at Hospice of Southern Kentucky.

"We like to hold it in the spring, when there's new life in the trees, and there's new life in the atmosphere, so this is just a really positive time to hold an event like this," said McKinze Willard, marketing director for Hospice of Southern Kentucky.

Hospice provides care for those nearing their final stop.

"Strong where the family wasn't -- they were very, very strong for the family," said Julie Cassidy, whose young cousin spent her final hours there at the care center before passing away from cancer.

"It takes a special person; it takes a special group of people to be able to help those in those families that are going through the hard times when there is no real good outcome, but they try to make it as positive as possible," Cassidy explained.

Hospice of Southern Kentucky worked to make more memories with those families affected by dedicating a tree on their campus.

"We have a prayer of dedication over and that the families can come in and see that tree and know that it's going to be growing here on our campus for as long as we're here, and beyond that, in honor of that person that they lost," said Willard.

"In a way, it's not to mourn their loss, but to celebrate their life," said Grant Denbaugh, a volunteer for Hospice of Southern Kentucky.

Others gathered near bricks engraved, which created another place for those loved ones to live on.

Cassidy's aunt and mother of their loved one was able to walk by her daughter's brick near a fountain.

"Now she can come back -- yes. She will be able to come here and feel a little bit closer to her," Cassidy said.

The ceremony altogether worked as a kind of reminder of the endurance of both relationships and the spirit of loved ones.

"It's really a good time for reflection and a time for us to connect with the families that we've served," said Willard.

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