Helping hearts through grief

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The butterfly had become a powerful symbol for Ginger Kremer and her children – an indelible reminder of their beloved “Oma” – since the day the majestic creature landed on Ginger’s shoulder, refusing to budge for half an hour during a Spring Break trip to Key West.

It was almost as if that butterfly was “Oma” the name they called Ginger’s mother, Dorothy Engel.

So when Ginger heard that Gilchrist Grief Services would be holding a Tribute Walk and Butterfly Release a month later, Ginger took it as a sign – and a chance to once again feel the presence of her mother, who died at Gilchrist Center Towson last November.

“I had goosebumps when I watched my daughters yelling ‘Oma!’ as they helped release the butterflies. They were so excited. The butterflies were all over them,” she said later. “You hope, in your heart, that she’s really here with you.”

For Ginger and her family, the butterfly release perfectly bookended the care they had received from Gilchrist, which also included home hospice and inpatient care for her mother and a personal counseling session with Gilchrist Grief Counselor Hilary Harrington after Dorothy Engel’s death.

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griefsubheadA vital part of the Gilchrist program since its start in 1994, Gilchrist Grief Services offers everything from one-on-one counseling to support groups to one-day workshops and events like the butterfly release, to help families reeling from the death of a loved one, cope with loss and adjust to their “new normal.”

At Gilchrist Hospice Care, patients and families may benefit not only from the extraordinary care of our nurses, social workers, chaplain, aides, counselors and volunteers but also from an array of specialized programs and offerings designed to ensure that all their needs are met, that the end of life is rich and meaningful and pain-free, and that loved ones who will be left behind have the strength to journey on. This story highlights just one of these programs, all designed with the knowledge that…every feather helps a bird take flight.

Read the other stories in our Every feather helps a bird take flight series: A safe place to nest, Loneliness departs, Taking a family under our wing, More feathers


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