A hospice tree lighting ceremony brought loved ones together throughout the state

Local News

Sanford Hospice hosted a tree lighting ceremony to remember those who are no longer here this holiday season. Kx News spoke with Lorraine Ketterling on how she is handling the death of her soulmate 9 months ago.

“He was up to 10 liters on his oxygen concentrator. At many times he would still say turn it up I need more,” said Lorraine Ketterling, resident.

It’s a bittersweet reality for 74-year-old Lorraine Ketterling after losing her husband of 56 years.

“Roland suffered from IPF and he’s been suffering for four years now,” said Ketterling.

It’s a type of lung disease that makes it so the lungs can’t take in enough oxygen, making it hard to breathe. And there were nothing doctors could do. So for six weeks, he was in Sanford Health Hospice Care, and all he wanted was to be around family when he took his last breath.

“The hospice people and volunteers were absolutely wonderful. They bought the equipment and set him up. Roland loved all of them,” said Ketterling.

To honor loved ones who passed away in hospice care, each year Sanford Hospice puts on a tree lighting ceremony.

“We recognize a loss during the holidays is difficult for most family members and for all of us to work through. So, we hope that this event offers some support and people can know that they are not alone in their grief during the holidays,” said Rochelle Schaffer, Director of Sanford Hospice.

“There are so many memories, we had a wonderful marriage, raised three beautiful children,” said Ketterling.

Now she is spending her spare time hanging out with friends and counting her blessings.

“Roland did not want me to sit home. He told me don’t cry for me to go on with your life,” said Ketterling.

At the tree lighting, each person was able to leave with a Christmas ornament. On it, an encouraging message on ways to cope with their loss.

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