Quilter, Dottie Szypulski, at the quilt unveiling.
Sharing memories at the 2011 Hospice Memorial Remembrance Quilt unveiling are, from left: Christine Gundaker, Jane Berger and Louise Willet of Simsbury, and Joell Snow Rzbczyk and Russell Snow from East Granby.
On November 15th, over 36 families, their friends and neighbors joined the McLean Hospice Team at the unveiling of the 2011 McLean Hospice Memorial Quilt of Remembrance. Those invited had contributed quilt squares earlier in 2012 in honor of their loved ones lost in 2011. This was the largest turnout for a quilt unveiling to date.
In a brief ceremony prior to the unveiling, Bonnie Lillis, Hospice Spiritual Counselor, spoke of the relevance of the National Hospice and Palliative Care theme for November’s National Hospice Month … comfort, love and respect...all of which she remarked were represented in this gathering. Lillis said, “each unique square … provides another special way to honor … loved ones…and provide a small measure of comfort.” She addressed the symbolism of the quilt representing the fabric of our lives and the stitching together as the binding of a supportive community. Lori Scudder, Hospice volunteer coordinator, explained that Hospice Memorial Quilts from 2000 – 2011 would remain on display the entire month of November for families and community viewing.
Lillis thanked the volunteers, including the quilter, Dottie Szypulski, and the Hospice volunteers who worked with the families to create squares, and those who called to invite the attendees. She noted a special thanks to volunteer, Elizabeth Scheidel, who cross- stitched the centerpiece poem. Dottie in her address to the audience admitted that creating the quilt was a challenge that she relished. She went on to state “it was an honor to create the quilt, and even a bigger honor to present it personally.” She thanked those in attendance for “trusting me with the memories of … very special loved ones … and for the special privilege of getting to know each (departed)… I know they were loved very much.”
As volunteers unveiled the quilt, there were mixed emotions expressed … tears, joy, appreciation, applause, and memories relived by the attendees. Overheard were family members saying to each other, “tell me about your loved one, what does your square represent in their lives?” Many were taking pictures, others saying they would come back with other friends to view the beautiful quilt. Many remarked “it was exquisite” and they were so glad they could be part of the ceremony.
There were many pictures taken so that families could share them with others not able to see the quilt in person, and visit with the Hospice team in attendance. Many memories were shared by all. A light reception hosted by the Hospice Volunteers followed the formal part of the event.
Lillis reminded the attendees that McLean’s annual supportive community event, Lights of Hope, is planned for November 29th at Eno Memorial Hall in Simsbury. For additional information about events, go to www.mcleancare.org or www.mcleanhospice.org and click on News & Events. McLean Hospice serves families in the communities of Avon, Bloomfield, Canton, East Hartland, Farmington, Granby, East Granby, Simsbury, West Hartford, Windsor, and most recently, Bristol and Burlington.