Rose Placement to Honor Veterans

January 26th, 2016

Rose Placement April 2nd, 2011

On Sunday, May 15th 2016, the UW Naval ROTC will be placing roses from the “Ten Grands” concert at gravesites at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park. The roses are a gift from  The Seattle Symphony and “Ten Grands” Seattle. They will first be used on stage at the annual “Ten Grands” concert at Benaroya Hall the previous evening.

Individual roses will be placed at the gravesites honoring veterans during a brief ceremony starting at 10 a.m. and will take approximately one hour to complete. The public is invited to observe this notable event. The event will take place at the Doughboy statue in the Evergreen Washelli Veterans Cemetery.

 The Seattle Symphony has been “giving the gift of music” since its inception in September of 1999. Its purpose is to promote the performing arts and to make them accessible to all youthful and “at risk” members of the community. Inspired by the vision of composer/pianist Michael Allen Harrison, Seattle Symphony, Inc. (501) © (3) provides instruments, scholarships and musical programs to underserved students in the State of Washington. The Seattle Symphony has raised more than $2 million in the past ten years including both Oregon and now Washington. All funding has gone directly to helping serve the youth in our communities through music.

2000 Roses to Honor Veterans

Seattle University ROTC Honored Veterans in 2011

“Ten Grands” presented by RBC Wealth Management is a benefit for The Seattle Symphony, a concert whose proceeds will enable the funding of several music programs, supporting targeted groups where music would make a positive difference in the lives of many children. On May 14th, 2016, the “Ten Grands” concert will be held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, beginning at 7pm. The “something for everyone” concert includes classical, jazz, blues, gospel, boogie woogie, pop, and contemporary music (including some original compositions). The musicians will play simultaneously, as soloists, in duets, quartets and other combinations. Tickets for this worthy cause are available at the Benaroya Hall Ticket Office.


Looking for Hope in the New Year

January 8th, 2016


Written by Maria Kubitz on Thursday, January 9, 2014  on Open to Hope 

For many, welcoming in the New Year is a celebration of optimism and hope. Many see it as a fresh start and a chance to take steps to improve both their lives and perhaps themselves. Of course, this isn’t a view shared by all. For the newly bereaved, the New Year can be an incredibly painful milestone.

Thinking back to the first New Year after the death of my daughter four years ago, I was blindsided by how painful it was for me. She died on September 30, so I had been preoccupied with overwhelming anxiety over how I was going to handle Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. What would I do? What wouldn’t I do? What if I broke down or had a panic attack on a day that was supposed to be a celebration?

Since I had never been much of a participant in New Year’s Eve festivities, it didn’t even occur to me that the New Year holiday would be a big deal. But in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I began to realize I was actually dreading it. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that a new year was coming and my daughter wouldn’t be alive in it. I wanted time to stop. I actually got angry about it. There would be no resolutions. No hope. No optimism. All I saw was more impossible pain on the horizon.

Some of you reading this may feel the same despair I did four years ago. The idea that anything good can ever happen again may feel impossible. The mere idea of smiling, laughing, and enjoying life may feel like a betrayal of your loved one. And if you feel that way, it’s ok – it is a normal reaction to grief.

Only when you feel you are ready, I encourage you to give yourself permission to look for hope again. Perhaps it is like a New Year’s resolution. But unlike most resolutions that are doomed from the start because they are too ambitious and too vague, I suggest you set specific, very small goals with the aim of re-learning basic every day habits – but this time with a new perspective.

In the case of resolutions, most people fail because they try to take on too much at once and don’t have the willpower to change the habits that serve as barriers to their goals. I learned this idea after reading an article called “How Simple Mini Habits Can Change Your Life” by Stephen Guise on the Tiny Buddha website. The basic idea of the article is that you can change your habits by setting mini goals that are so simple to achieve, you actually do them. And if you do them consistently for a certain length of time – let’s say one month – they become a new habit.

Getting back to the idea of allowing yourself to look for hope in the New Year, if I were to suggest mini goals based on my personal experience, here’s what they might be:


One of the hardest parts of grief is our natural reaction to try to suppress the pain. This might be done through outright denial, keeping busy (and therefore distracted from it), numbing it with drugs or alcohol, etc. The problem with this is that suppressing the pain only makes it worse, and can even prolong it. By saying or writing one word that describes how you feel each day, the hope is that you learn to express your feelings so that you can work through them and ultimately let them go. This might be done by journaling, attending a support group – either in person or online, talking with family or friends, or even a grief counselor. Words that I might have used four years ago to describe how I felt could include despair, guilt, panic, fatigued, hopeless, numb, disbelief, angry, despondent, etc.


When you are deep in grief, you tend to focus on what you’ve lost and the searing pain associated with it. Your world might become bleak and filled with despair. By acknowledging one nice thing that happened that day, you can begin to create a habit of gratitude, hope, and optimism. Even if you had these habits before your loss, the chances are you will experience them in a new, more meaningful way. Nice things could be as simple as someone holding the elevator door for you, or as significant as a friend stopping by to say hello and let you know they care about you.


This may not be difficult for some, but for myself and many others I know, this can be challenging even when you are not grieving. But in early grief, your energy is usually completely gone most of the time. Even basic chores like cooking or laundry can seem downright impossible. If there is one time in your life that you need to take care of yourself, it is now. Examples of how you can help take care of yourself include: asking your family or friends to help with things you normally take for granted (cooking a meal, doing a load of laundry, etc.), eating something healthy when you don’t have any appetite, taking a nap when you feel exhausted, letting yourself cry if you feel the urge, etc. It could even be something like treating yourself to a massage to help relieve the aching tension you are likely feeling.


For some, this may be the most difficult mini goal of them all. I know for a long time it was for me. I felt that if I smiled, it would somehow mean I was ok with my daughter’s death. I literally thought I had to be miserable for the rest of my life because of how much I missed her. For the sake of my other children, I forced myself to smile again. For a while, the smiles weren’t authentic, but eventually they led the way to real smiles. Further down the road, the permission to smile led to feeling happiness and even joy once again. Happiness and joy lead to hope and optimism.

That is my ultimate wish for you – happiness, joy, hope, and optimism. While you will likely have to re-learn how to invite them into your life, your ultimate motivation and guide will likely be the deep, enduring love you feel for the loved one you lost. And I know there is no end to the depth of that love.


18th Annual Holiday Remembrance Service

September 15th, 2015

Join Evergreen Washelli on December 7th to remember your loved one.

Evergreen Washelli invites you, your family, and friends to join us in remembering your loved ones at our 18th Annual Holiday Remembrance Service Sunday, December 6th, 2015.

5:00 PM- Evergreen Washelli at Bothell: 18224 103rd Avenue NE – Bothell, WA

5:00 PM- Evergreen Washelli Tribute Center: 11111 Aurora Avenue North – Seattle, WA

Services include:

•Candle lighting ceremony

•Life tribute DVD

•Light refreshments

To have a photo of your loved one included in the Life Tribute DVD, email us or call the number below. Photos need to be submitted by November 27th, 2015.

For more information, please call 425.486.1281


66th Annual Veterans Day Celebration

September 15th, 2015

On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00 am, Evergreen Washelli will be celebrating our 66th Annual Veterans Day. The event will take place at the Doughboy statue at the base of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Veterans, their families and the public will gather for a special band concert and Service of Remembrance.  A tent will be provided in the event of rain.

7:00 am — we will host a flag placement at the Lower Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Each of the white marble upright markers in the Lower Veterans Section will receive a flag. Volunteers are needed. During this time before the program, we invite you to wander the area and learn about our Medal of Honor recipients.

10:30 am — musical entertainment before the service.

11:00 am —  the Service of Remembrance begins. The program will conclude with “Taps” and a Rifle Salute.

The donation of flags for this event is greatly appreciated. If you would like to donate a flag or funds to purchase them, or for additional information, please contact Brenda Spicer or call our main Seattle office at 206.362.5200

Read about the historic Doughboy dedication on


6th Annual Wreaths Across America

September 15th, 2015


Saturday, December 12th, 2015 – 9:00 AM

Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park

11111 Aurora Ave N. – Seattle, WA 98133

Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park is hosting an annual wreath laying ceremony in conjunction with the Navy Wives Club of America, Totem #277 and Wreaths Across America.

This year Evergreen Washelli will be celebrating veterans buried within its Veterans’ Cemetery section on December 12th, 2015 at 9:00 am. Following a brief ceremony there will be laying of donated wreaths by volunteers.

This special wreath laying ceremony is to occur simultaneously with Arlington National Cemetery and other Veterans Cemeteries in all 50 states (such as the one at Evergreen Washelli) along with veteran’s burial grounds around the globe.

Wreaths Across America organizes this event with the message of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.

This event is being made possible through donated funds and hard work done by the Navy Wives Club of America. It is their vision that has made this 6th annual wreath laying ceremony possible.  Wreaths will be laid throughout the Veterans Cemetery and also at the graves of the Medal of Honor recipients. One wreath for each branch of service will be displayed at Evergreen Washelli’s Doughboy statue in memory of all who have served.

It is interesting to note that each section with the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery was named for a battle in which the United States Armed Forces participated. Bronze plaques in keeping with the military theme identifying each section of Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery were contributed by the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton.

Donations and Volunteers are needed,  If you would like to participate in this year’s wreath laying ceremony, please contact Lorraine Zimmerman of the Totem #277 Navy Wives Club of America.  Or for more information about this event, please contact Brenda Spicerat Evergreen Washelli, 206-362-5200. For wreath donations, please refer to the link for more details. Donations need to be received by November 26,2013 in order to benefit the 2013 wreath laying ceremony.

About Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery Arlington National Cemetery is America’s most renowned veterans’ cemetery, but for the Seattle-area veterans and their spouses, being interred in Virginia would greatly hinder their loved ones from being able to visit their graves as often as they would prefer, especially prior to the jet age. As early as 1904, local veterans of the Spanish America war began to search for ways to honor their fallen comrades with a local cemetery of their own, but the start of the First World War delayed their efforts. Their search finally ended in 1927 when Clinton S. Harley, then General Manager for Evergreen Washelli, a veteran of the Spanish America War himself, offered a large section of the cemetery for the burial of veterans and their spouses. Today Evergreen Washelli has over 5000 Veterans in its care.

Previous ceremonies have been covered by Seattle’s KING TV and its affiliates, the video for 2012 is available below.

King 5 Coverage of 2012 Wreaths Across America Ceremony


On The Northwest’s Tribal Nations

August 21st, 2015

9-15 totem pole

In recognition of Native American Day on September 25th we encourage you to learn more about the indigenous peoples of the area. The Pacific Northwest was and is home to several tribal nations. Some nations are recognized by the United States government and maintain some degree of Tribal sovereignty, which grants them internal legislative powers.

One of the nations not currently recognized is the Duwamish Tribe, is currently suing the federal government for recognition. The Duwamish Tribe had been recognized under the Clinton administration but a 2001 Bureau of Indian Affairs decision that the tribe had gone extinct.  The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, located along the Duwamish Waterway in West Seattle, is a tremendous learning resource. Their art gallery and exhibits are free entry and are open 10:00am-5:00pm Monday through Saturday.

A little farther north, the Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip is a relatively short drive from Seattle proper and is an extraordinary resource for learning about the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skokomish tribes. The Hibulb Cultural Center (or HCC) has an immense 50-acre natural preserve, and the center itself has a longhouse, canoe, and rotating exhibit. The current temporary exhibit (through September 27th) is Roots of Wisdom, a hands-on exhibit dealing with traditional practices and the underlying science beneath.

A common complaint about the core conceit of Native American Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day on October 12th) is that it oversimplifies tribal cultures by implying they are a singular, monolithic thing. Compare, for example, the willow and yucca Kiith that the Serrano lived in and the wide, semi-subterranean Pit Houses that the Shasta people built. Even within a given region art, architecture, attire and mythology could differ greatly– the same motifs might appear but their meanings and the ways the expressed themselves setting each culture apart.

Perhaps a better way to look at these holidays is as an invitation to learn more about each specific native culture and its history.  With such a wide range of extant cultures in our region, whether recognized or not, we should take every opportunity to  learn, enrich ourselves, and give back to these cultures.



BBC’s The Forum: Grief

August 20th, 2015

Every week, BBC’s The Forum “brings together remarkable minds from around the world to talk about the subjects they’re experts on – and the ones they want to know more about”. Recently, host Bridget Kendall discussed the topic of “grief” with Susana Moreira Marques, who spoke about her experiences in rural villages in Portugal, Bharati Mukherjee, who talked about mourning rituals in the Hindu tradition, and Barbara J. King who focuses on responses to death among animals.

After suddenly losing her grandparents, Susana Moreira Marques found herself feeling a combination of guilt and anger that she had not been there for them at the time of their passing. These feelings served as one of her motivations to follow palliative care providers through rural Portuguese villages similar to the ones her grandparents had lived in. To her surprise, she found villages where the youngest inhabitants were sixty years old. The younger generations had traveled either to Portugal’s coastal cities or elsewhere in Europe, leaving only the oldest generations in the villages of their birth. This often meant that the deaths Susana witnessed represented not only the passing of an individual or even a generation, but also the disappearance of a way of life and unique set of cultural traditions.

Susana’s grandfather rarely spoke about his childhood when he was alive and she recalls him stating that his “story would not last” after he was gone. Realizing the importance of giving the vanishing generation a voice, she took the time to listen to the life stories of numerous individuals and their loved ones. At first she worried that she was intruding upon these intimate spaces and conversations, but found that families were extremely generous and that having an opportunity to talk and preserve their stories was an important part of their grieving process.

In contrast to deaths that occur at the end of a natural lifespan, Bharati Mukherjee chose to focus on responses to the tragic 1985 terrorist attack on Air India Flight 182. This was a “double tragedy” for the family members since not only did their loved ones die suddenly and prematurely, but in many cases the families were unable obtain the sense of closure brought about by recovering their bodies. A traditional Hindu funeral consists of laying the deceased in a funeral bed, covering them in flowers, and finally culminates in a cremation which is lighted by the eldest son in the family. Bharati explains that in many of the cases where a loved one’s remains could not be recovered, families instead would perform the funeral using a figure made of straw as a placeholder. This shows how valuable these traditions are to the families of the departed, giving them some sense of control over how they say goodbye to a loved one even in the midst of a terrible and uncontrollable tragedy.

Finally, Barbara J. King, who had recently lost her mother, explored the question to how universal the grieving process is. Despite the fact that humans mourn through such a diverse range of practices and traditions, she argues that these approaches all share the same drive toward meaning-making. At some point in human prehistory, communities began to come together to bury their members who had died. Archeologists have found ornate bead necklaces and clothing buried along with the dead, indicating the morning rituals can be traced back even to some of the earliest humans. Barbara also asks to what degree animals share our ability to grieve. She recounts a case in which the death of an elderly elephant named Eleanor prompted a “vigil” spanning multiple days in which other elephants gathered around her body where they would rock back and forth and gently touch her with their trunks or feet.

While the inner-lives of other species may forever be outside the scope of human knowledge, Barbara believes that the very act of seeing ourselves as part of the “bigger picture” in the natural world is helpful for dealing with grief. She agrees with the other two speakers that it is important for those who are morning to be open – when they are ready – to rejoin the “social flow” of the world, which is perhaps the primary aim of all of the diverse traditions which concern death.

Click Here to Read the Full BBC Article


Women’s Equality Day

August 7th, 2015

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day commemorating 1920’s ratification of the 19th Amendment which federalized women’s right to vote. The amendment universalized women’s suffrage in America, and detractors of the amendment fought it as an undue infringement of the federal government on states’ rights (Washingtonian women had had full suffrage a decade earlier in 1910). The 19th Amendment made its first appearance to Congress in 1878, a full 41 years before its approval by Congress, and 42 years before it was ratified.

The first woman to vote in America was Lydia Chapin Taft, on October 30th, 1756 (164 years before the 19th amendment), when Massachusetts was still a British colony. Her husband, Josiah Taft, was one of the wealthier members of the community until he died at 43. Her town had an impending vote on their community’s support of the French and Indian Wars so the town granted her special permission to vote, ostensibly under the principle of “no taxation without representation,” which had been gaining popularity.

After the United States won their independence the first women to vote were in New Jersey, a state whose constitution enabled them to vote immediately in 1776. Unfortunately, an 1807 law rescinded women’s suffrage to supposedly curb voter fraud.

Ironically the most groundbreaking story linked to the women’s suffrage movement is about a man. His name was Charley Parkhurst. Charley was a rancher, farm hand, and stagecoach driver in California (who’d sailed there in 1848 as part of the gold rush), and is believed to have voted in the 1968 election. He was also designated female at birth. Charley (born Charlotte) was raised in New England and ran away from home as a child. Throughout his life he gained immense respect as a stagecoach driver, and the article in the San Francisco Call death began:

“He was in his day one of the most dexterous and celebrated of the famous California drivers ranking with Foss, Hank Monk and George Gordon, and it was an honor to be striven for to occupy the spare end of the driver’s seat when the fearless Charley Parkhurst held the reins of a four-or six-in hand…

Last Sunday [December 28, 1879], in a little cabin on the Moss Ranch, about six miles from Watsonville, Charley Parkhurst, the famous coachman, the fearless fighter, the industrious farmer and expert woodman died of the cancer on his tongue…

…Then, when the hands of the kind friends who had ministered to his dying wants came to lay out the dead body of the adventurous Argonaut, a discovery was made that was literally astounding. Charley Parkhurst was a woman [sic].”

Charley Parkhurst inadvertently, just by existing and quietly living his own life, created a scenario where the old bigotry that prevented women from having any kind of voice in government smashed head-on with a movement so far beyond 1879’s civil rights horizon that hatred didn’t have time to take root. The unwavering respect that Charley commanded (and the rough-and-tumble nature of it) exploded gender norms and gave people a choice between understanding that women are equally capable as men (and therefor that keeping women from voting doesn’t make sense), but insisting on defining Charley by his genitalia; or defending their society’s stance on women’s suffrage, and accepting Charley as he was.

America’s road to women’s suffrage took far too long to travel, made so by a series of blunt political pressures and social inertia. It’s comforting to think about the battle as ancient history, but 95 years is still within a human lifetime. The reason we study history isn’t to enjoy the distance we’ve come, but rather to hard-won lessons to call upon. We’ve gained considerable cultural distance, but those battles from 1807 and 1879 and 1920 still echo to this very day.


Children, Grief, and Help

August 2nd, 2015

Grief is one of the most challenging things to talk about with your families or closest friends, let alone other people. Not immune to this challenge are teachers whose students have experienced some sort of loss, be it parent, grandparent, sibling, or classmate.

“Saying nothing says a lot,” says Dr. David Schonfeld, founder of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, “and that’s a message we should never leave a child.” It is exceedingly important for teachers to say something to their students—indeed for adults to say something to grieving children in their lives. The question is how to begin the conversation. In her fantastic NPR piece “Grief in the Classroom: ‘Saying Nothing Says A Lot’,” Elissa Nadworny interviews experts and outlines the common problems teachers struggle with when one of their students experiences grief.

“Saying ‘my father died, too’ shifts attention to a competing loss and away from the grieving student.”

Dr. Schonfeld also recommends avoiding sentences that begin with “at least” as this can appear to make light of the situation or “find the good in the sad.”

“The teacher’s goal should be to support grieving students by making clear to them that they are safe and have someone to talk to.”

The article also trumpets the website which is a resource for teachers dealing with grief in the classroom. It is an astonishingly deep resource– not just for teachers but for any adult struggling to help a child dealing with grief– with fact sheets, advice, and videos made by the Coalition to Support Grieving Students. The site ranges in topics from suicide to cultural consideration to grief triggers and reactions.

If you know a child who is experiencing grief, please reach out to them. Whether or not they will open up to you immediately or at all, it is equally important that they know they are safe and have people in their lives who love them.


The Value of Personal Rituals in Grieving

July 2nd, 2015

Often when we talk about grief we do so in personal stories—and with good reason. Stories are nothing if not little murmurs that let us know we’re not alone.  But stories do have their limitations, and if you’re looking for good, concrete advice you can’t do much better than science. Emily Esfahani Smith’s piece aptly titled “In Grief, Try Personal Rituals” (published by The Atlantic in March, 2014), is a well-considered argument for, well, exactly what it sounds like: using personal rituals.

“Why do some mourners recover from grief quickly—much more quickly—than others? …Many variables, from your personality to your social world to your levels of stress before the loss, play distinct roles.

In the study, published in [February 2014] in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, [researchers] found that some mourners are more emotionally resilient than others, and those who overcome their grief more quickly… …performed what the researchers refer to as ‘rituals’…”

A ritual is a physical act combined with the sincere belief that it means something. A personal ritual is distinct from a public one (wearing black, being the recipient of casseroles, sitting shiva, etc). They may serve similar purposes, but a personal ritual is a more intimate expression, often done alone and typically invented by the individual.

“One woman whose husband died still washes his car each week, as he had done when he was alive… … One woman who lost her mother would ‘play the song by Natalie Cole ‘I miss you like crazy’ and cry every time I heard it and thought of my mom…’ …A man whose wife passed away wrote: ‘In these fifteen years I have been going to hairdressers to cut my hair every first Saturday of the month as we used to do together.’”

But instead of these rituals making their enactors sad, the rituals actually demonstrably lessen their grief. In one study, psychologists asked the 247 participants to write in detail about a loss they had experienced. Then, they were divided into two groups, one of which was asked to write about a personal ritual they had invented to help them through that loss.

“Those in the ritual group… …were less inclined to endorse statements (from a standard scale used to measure grief) such as ‘I feel that life is empty without this person,’ ‘Memories of this person upset me,’ and ‘I feel stunned or dazed over what happened.’”

The complete article at is full of other studies, each in support of the personal ritual to help with loss, and is a highly recommended read (as is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion—a mediation on Didion’s relationship with her husband and the time following his death, and heavily referenced throughout the article).

To some it might seem cold or artificial to look to science to govern our behaviors, especially in terms of how we grieve. But these are things that have been helping people for decades—even centuries. Now we can prove that they work and that they can help.