At Riverview Health Care Center in Oak Harbor when the Christmas tree decorations come off the lobby tree, the tree is redecorated with individualized memorial ornaments dedicated to residents who have died in the past year.
The ornaments often reflect the interests of the one remembered. Decorations on and inside this year’s ornaments include golf tees, the Chicago skyline, bingo mementos, a hat and feathers, bowling pins and an OSU emblem.
The tradition was started several years ago by the staff of Riverview. Staff members each design and make an ornament that commemorates the life of the departed resident. This past Sunday, in addition to the hanging of the ornaments, there was a memorial service at the Riverview chapel.
Melany Bonell, social worker, coordinates the service. At the simple service Bonell played a beautiful piano number. Music and readings and a list of those departed were shared. “We also invite families and staff to share memories,” said Bonell. Families gathered after the service around the tree for refreshments and memories.
It was a gentle and tender afternoon.