GREAT MILLS, Md. — Every year, Hospice of St. Mary’s holds an event to honor and remember loved ones who have recently passed. Although somewhat disrupted last year by COVID-19, this year brought something beautiful.

“Last year we had a drive-thru, which was fine. But this year we wanted people to be able to be with their family and be with their people,” Hospice of St. Mary’s Director Kara Rawlings said. “So we decided to have this luminary walk.”

Photo: Kara Rawlings(Right), along side other members of the hospice staff.

Each person who Hospice was asked to recognize received their name on a luminary placed at the center of the park. The goal was to create a “safe and reflective environment” for people to wander around and remember their loved ones.

To maintain health and safety protocols, the event happened outside at Chancellor’s Run Park from 5:00-7:00 p.m., and participants were asked to keep social distancing in mind.

“We wrote names on bags, and we bought some that were already pre-punched and put them around,” Rawlings explained.

One part that was emphasized with the memorial was the sacrifices many people made last year, whether through military service or by directly helping the community throughout the worst parts of the pandemic.

“We wanted to honor our veterans, so we have a veterans walk as well,” Rawlings said. “And then we also had a walk to honor all essential workers, healthcare workers, grocery workers, all kinds of truckers, farmers, and everyone who worked during COVID. So we just kind of want to make sure we honor everybody.”

Photo: Jessica Long, a hospice home health aide(Left) and Katie Smith, RN(Right).

Hospice of St. Mary’s currently is offering bereavement support groups for the public to attend. To learn more about those services and all they have to offer, or if you have any questions, visit their website or call 301-994-3023.

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