The Blessed Sacrament Children’s Choir provided the songs of the season during Thursday morning’s Holyoke VNA and Hospice Life Care tree lighting service at the Holyoke Mall.
22News Anchor Rich Tettemer has long served as master of ceremonies for the annual tree lighting.
Each star represents a family whose loved one spent their final days, weeks or months in hospice care. There are 100 more stars on the tree than a year ago.
Holyoke VNA Hospice Director Debra Strempek estimates in the past few years, families choosing hospice for a loved one in the final stages of life have increased by 100 percent.
“They were able to die at home with dignity and grace, to be in their own bed, with their own dog and their own cat,” said Strempek.
Jennifer Martin of Chicopee spoke of the positive results of the choice to have their mom receive hospice end of life care at home.
“Ease her pain, her emotional needs so that we could take her outside and she enjoyed that,” said Martin.
In the words of veteran hospice nurse Suzanne Picard, this end of life care brings peace to the individual, and much needed support for the family.