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Missoula Tree of Life ceremony set for Tuesday

TOL 2011 Tree 03
Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 14:10:18-05

MISSOULA — Partners In Home Care will host its annual Tree of Life ceremony online beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7 with the video recording available through December.

The ceremony has been held every year since 1987 to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed away with a tree lighting at Rose Park and accompanying service.

The tree will be lit again this year, and viewers are asked to tune in virtually to the ceremony and service that will offer words of compassion and hope by community members and spiritual leaders.

“It is vital that we give our grief expression through this season,” said James Waddell, a Partners In Home Care hospice chaplain. “We hope that the Tree of Life ceremony can offer meaningful words and images to represent our grief, and we invite our Western Montana community to join together and celebrate the lives of those we have lost.”

“Many of our community members live alone, live with an aging spouse, or have children and relatives who live far away. Receiving hospice care at home is simply not an option for them,” said Betsy Bach, executive director of Partners Hope Foundation, an organization founded in 2017 to address Western Montana’s hospice care needs.

Partners Hope Foundation and Partners In Home Care are now collaborating to create a center for end-of-life care. The center is currently in the planning stages and will be built on Union Pacific Street near North Reserve on land gifted by the Terry and Patt Payne family.

“The need for a place where people can receive 24-hour hospice care, gather with loved ones in a safe and comforting environment, and connect to resources that offer education and support services is especially highlighted this time of year,” added Bach.  

“The loss of loved ones can be shattering and disorienting. However, that which has been shattered can be made whole again," added Jack Rowan, a hospice chaplain that also works at Partners In Home Care.