The following is by Hospice of the North Coast
People from children to seniors grieving the loss of loved ones found solace, support and life affirmation at Hospice of the North Coast’s (HNC’s) heartfelt Light Up A Life (LUAL) on December 7, 2013 at the Carlsbad Senior Center. They gathered to connect with others, feel uplifted by inspirational music and words, and, as a culmination of the afternoon event, make a poignant walk to the front table, one by one, to light a candle in honor of the person they deeply miss. Many in the solemn procession took the opportunity to briefly share their memories. “My son lit up my life,” said one grieving mother as she lit a candle for her adult son who died this year.
HNC Executive Director Nerice Kaufman states, “Whether a loved one has passed very recently or years ago, the memorial has a profound impact. As our signature winter event, LUAL enables people to enter the holiday season with feelings of hope, optimism and joy for life. No matter how cold it is outside or how sharp the individual loss, the shared warmth in the room is always palpable.”
Making this year’s LUAL even more moving was keynote speaker Robert Halder, MD, Retired Rear Admiral, USN. Speaking on the theme, “The Blessings of Legacy,” Dr. Halder regaled the audience with the humorous antics of his comedic friend Jack, who died four years ago under hospice care in Virginia. Proving that the essence of a person lives beyond their actual life on earth, Dr. Halder’s recollections of their crazy bike ride in freezing weather and a midnight golfing escapade cut short by water sprinklers were, he said, “gifts of remembrance” and he encouraged others to hold onto their own memories as “a precious legacy.” The celebration ended on an inspiring note as HNC Communications Manager Yvette Williams sang “Unforgettable.” Indeed, like the lives of the people celebrated on this day, HNC’s 2013 Light Up A Life was truly unforgettable.Nonprofit Hospice of the North Coast was established in 1980 to fill the need for comprehensive, compassionate hospice care in North County San Diego. Since its inception, it has grown in services, staff and clients. It currently provides a full spectrum of programs to terminally ill clients and their families, including anticipatory and post-death bereavement support, as well as a Pathways Program for those with a declining chronic disease. To fulfill its goal of maintaining dignity, comfort and highest quality of life for those it serves, regardless of ability to pay, HNC hosts fundraising events, operates a family support camp and resale shop, and maintains a cadre of volunteers. HNC will soon open its new six-bedroom Pacifica House in-patient residential facility in Carlsbad. The residence will be the first such freestanding facility in North County.