South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 6, 2020
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June 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 12
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HospiceCare of Southeast Florida Launches Forget-Me-Not Center for Remembrance and Healing

According to a centuries-old legend, the forget-me-not flower received its name when a knight, while picking blue wildflowers along a stream with his lady, fell into the water and drowned, anchored by the weight of his heavy armor. As he disappeared from view, he is said to have whispered to his love, "Forget me not," as he tossed his bouquet of flowers to her. The flower became known as the forgetĖme-not and it has since been a symbol of enduring love, love that transcends loss and separation. The little wildflower, which is usually blue with a yellow center, grows all over the world, from Alpine meadows to the mountainsides of Alaska, where it is the state flower. It is known for its prolific blossoming and abundance of seeds.

A new kind of forget-me-not is sprouting in South Florida this year, as HospiceCare of Southeast Florida in Fort Lauderdale opens a center dedicated to meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of those who are grieving. The Forget-Me-Not Center, which will open its doors in June, is described by its founders as a place of comfort and healing, where individuals, families and groups can experience a range of services, supports and programs designed to validate their grief and help ease them through one of lifeís toughest challenges.

According to Kris Drumm, MSW, Director of Bereavement Services for HospiceCare of Southeast Florida and Director of the Forget-Me-Not Center, "We are extending an open invitation to all those in the community who have suffered a loss and are grieving. Death is a sacred, spiritual experience, but we are a culture that is afraid of grief and many people are unwilling to face those who have suffered a loss. People have a tendency to urge them to move on, to get past the loss as soon as possible. As a result, the bereaved person often feels alone and unsupported and their grief is invalidated. Our new center is a place where one can have his or her feelings validated and can talk about their loss, with others who understand."

Forget-Me-Not Center Opens in June with an Open House

Hospice of Southeast Florida welcomes everyone to the grand opening of the Forget Me Not Center on Sunday, June 17, 2006, from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be tours of the facility, refreshments and a chance to talk with the staff. For more information, call (954) 467-7423 ext. 1500. HSF is located at 1721 SE 4th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

The Forget-Me-Not Center is located in a six room, beach house-style cottage on the campus of HospiceCare of Southeast Florida. Drumm says that the staff has been working hard to renovate the cottage to create a warm and healing environment. The center features a drop-in room, where complimentary tea and comfortable furnishings provide a hospitable welcome. There is also a meditation room, an art therapy area and an outdoor garden.

"We think of it as a place of comfort, care and remembrance," says Drumm. "We have a fountain, plants, candles, and soft colors and lighting. Itís very beautifully decorated, and there are access ramps and safety features."

Blue is featured prominently in the color scheme, including the periwinkle window shutters that help give the building its cozy, cottage-like ambience.

Among the services, the Forget-Me-Not Center will have a library, support groups, pet therapy, music, retreats and memorial services. Lisa Cohen, art therapist, will help participants create clay sculptures, paint a watercolor painting, keep a personal journal or express themselves in a myriad of ways, either in groups or individual sessions. Counseling for individuals, families and groups will be offered, and there is special attention being given to the needs of children.

"Children experiences losses and grieve deeply, but people often donít know how to talk to them about it. We will have a program just for children, where they can share their memories, their fears and their feelings and talk to others who have also experienced the death of a parent, grandparent, or sibling," says Drumm. A childrenís play therapy program will also be available.

A chaplain will provide spiritual care and there will be a weekly Spiritual Comfort Hour, with prayers, readings and meditations.

The center will have a grand opening in June, with an all-day housewarming event. The opening will focus on the creation of an outdoor memorial garden, and anyone who wishes to bring a plant for the garden is welcome to do so.

Drumm is looking forward to further developing the programs and hopes to include holistic therapies such as massage and yoga. "We know that grief is held in the body, and we want to offer holistic treatments as part of our comfort and care. We are also planning to develop more support groups as the needs are identified. Right now, we have a daytime and an evening open support group and are planning a grieving parent group and a pet loss group, and there will be others on an as-needed basis."

For Drumm, the Forget-Me-Not Center represents a chance for her to put into practice both her passion and her professional expertise. With a background in both social work and theatre, she is convinced that there is power in group work. "Healing and empowerment come from group support," she believes. "A group can be a resource for anyone, no matter what the nature of their loss is."

The Forget-Me-Not Center will undoubtedly be a resource for the entire community, and Drumm encourages professionals from area churches, social service agencies and health care facilities to attend the opening in June and become familiar with the programs so that they can refer their grieving clients to the center.

For more information about the center, call (954) 763-9543 or email forgetmenot@hospicecareflorida.org.
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