Lakewood Hosts an event of Remembrance with a table of candles on the table

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Lakewood Hosts Service of Remembrance

“It’s funny, I thought Lakewood is where my parents live and have friends who felt like family to them,” said the family member of a resident in Lakewood’s health care area. “But I’ve found that Lakewood residents and team members have now become my family, too.”

It’s that sense of community that brought nearly 70 residents, community and family members together on September 2 for a service to remember those who have passed away over the past several months. Chaplain Julie Walton led the service in the Simms Center while residents Rev. John Adams and Linda Jones played the organ and piano. Dozens of participants joined in person, from a social distance, and virtually via Zoom meeting. Residents who live in higher levels of care were able to watch on the internal television station.

Program Coordinator Courtney Harver lit a candle for each resident who passed between October 2019 and July 2020 and Walton read their names to further recognize their presence in spirit. The family members of a loved one who recently passed away said they were so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this service.

“Thank you so much for making it possible for us to attend virtually. It was very moving and took place on the eve of what would have been our loved one’s 103rd birthday. How appropriate!”

Walton said that even though the service was a bit different this year, it was just as meaningful.

“It’s important that we create a space for our entire community-residents, team members and family members to gather and remember those who have gone before us, who made their mark on our community and who made us who we are as a community today. Their presence has changed our lives and our community, and we honor how important their presence has been in our community when we gather for this service,” said Walton. “It was beautiful to me to see the number of residents who would stand up and honor each resident’s name as it was called. Those on Zoom also raised their hands, which I could see from where I was standing. To see the love and care the residents have for each other as neighbors is something that always moves me during this service, but especially this year, where we’ve had to be apart from our neighbors more than normal.”

The service is typically held twice a year, in May and November, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the service was moved to September. The next service will be held in May 2021.

“This service reminds me of what a privilege it is to be the chaplain here. I remember with each name that I read out loud the moments I shared with each person, the smiles and laughter as well as the last moments with family, and I am filled with gratitude at the joy I find in having shared life with each of them. I know many of our team members feel the exact same way.”

Chaplain Julie Walton