Alone, but not forgotten – memorializing all

Craig | December 15, 2017
Everybody deserves to have their life remembered

Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island might be big, but it’s well off the beaten path. To get there, you can charter a flight or ride the ferry from Ketchikan, which takes about three hours.

With a population of only about 4,000, it can be easy for residents — especially the elderly — to feel or become isolated.

Helping people stay connected and feel part of the community is part of the mission and ministry of PeaceHealth caregivers there, as discovered by Daleasha Hall, a PeaceHealth director of palliative and hospice care.

“There are daily moments of grace here,” she said after a recent visit. The story that particularly captured her heart is what the clinic team in Craig — the island’s largest town — does for those who have passed with few or no known family or friends.

Hall shared that Brenda Bowie, FNP and other caregivers at PeaceHealth put together memorials — creating pamphlets and coordinating services complete with gatherings and refreshments — to honor the lives of those who might otherwise have passed with little notice.

Bowie is a nurse practitioner who has been working on the Island for two years. “I identify the need and organize the services, but the whole staff participates.” A local pastor performs the memorial service in one of the area churches.

“We have done three services for people who didn’t have family or friends to arrange their service,” she said. “We post information around town and on social media when a memorial is happening.”

"Everybody deserves to have their life marked or memorialized,” said Bowie. “What we have learned is often times people who felt they were isolated in their life had more support available than they realized.”