The soft sounds of a harpist and bubbling pond filled the air in the Mount Sinai garden as staff welcomed back family members whose loved ones had passed away in the hospital last year.
Speaking on behalf of staff and volunteers at Mount Sinai, Dr. Golda Tradounsky, the Head of Palliative Care Services, addressed the gathering at the Celebration of Life event, an opportunity for family and friends to return to the hospital and remember their loved ones in a moving and symbolic ceremony.
“Dr. Golda”—as she’s known to her patients—acknowledged how difficult it is to return to the site where a loved one spent a difficult time and passed. Thanking those assembled for their “brave effort”, she said she hoped the return visit would bring back positive memories, and pointed to the impact the lives of patients have on the people who care for them.
“Though we may seem only to be working with our patients, we, too, are touched by the people we take care of,” she said. “Our patients teach us incredible lessons about strength of character, vitality, love, courage, patience, and in general, about the human condition. Each patient is an individual who leaves us a special gift, their personal touch.”
Family members left their own personal touch at the ceremony, as they placed white flowers in memory of their loved one in a vase signifying the collective loss at Mount Sinai.
As the ceremony drew to a close, family members expressed their appreciation to staff. Miriam Mamane, President of the Mount Sinai Users’ Committee, took the opportunity to tell MSH staff that their care and devotion was evident in the eight years her father spent at Mount Sinai. “My dad was their dad. Every day I was made to feel like we were one family, with the same concerns, the same love and the same shared emotions. I am forever indebted to the staff at MSH for sharing with me this heartbreaking time in my life with honest love and commitment.”