Evergreen Washelli would like to congratulate Treicy Castillo-Ramirez of Capability Homecare as our Caregiver of the Month winner for January 2014. A Guatemala native, Treicy has always wanted to be a nurse since she was a little girl. She loves taking care of people and it makes her feel good to know she is making a difference in their lives. Treicy carries a positive attitude into every situation and is always willing to fill in for others, just so she can help! Treicy goes above and beyond for her patients on a daily basis and gives her clients her best!!
Except maybe, if you’re like me, and this time of year is also the time someone you love died. Or for that matter, if this time of year just reminds you how much you miss someone who has died, no matter when that death happened.
My mom died on February 13th, 2007. Valentine’s Day Eve. I was never the type to expect a dozen red roses anyway, but since Mom died there has been a dark grey cloud over this cotton-candy pink holiday. In recent years, I’ve just let Valentine’s Day slip by me like any other day. My husband knows that a card is more than enough now, and that pretty much covers our celebration of the day. He is keenly aware that any sense of romance I might be feeling is far outweighed by the lingering memory of Moms’ death.
I was planning (or rather not planning) for Valentine’s Day to come and go as usual this year. And then, as it often does, my mom’s memory came knocking softly at my heart. Mom loved holidays, loved the idea of spreading cheer and love and chocolate any time it was remotely reasonable to do so. Much as I wanted to pretend that Valentine’s Day was just another day, and that the majority of the country was just drunk on the fumes of freshly printed Hallmark cards, I felt something different this year. I felt challenged to reclaim this day.
I decided that I wanted to do something that was fun, fairly easy, and likely to bring joy to others. I also decided that I wanted it to be something that still felt somewhat “normal” for me, since the idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day at all was already a pretty big deviation from my routine. It’s all about baby steps with me and my grief.
I remembered sitting at the kitchen table as a kid, carefully folding and tearing the strips of Valentine’s Day cards Mom let me pick out from the store. She would always ask me who I wanted to give one to, even though she knew we bought enough for everyone in my class. Looking back, I realize this was her undercover Mom way of finding out who my BFF of the week was, and which boy I had a crush on. Smooth, Mom, very smooth.
I don’t have a roomful of classmates anymore, but I do love the idea of everyone getting a card, no matter how cool or fun or popular they might feel. I love the idea of people having a random moment in their day when they feel valued, cared for, and loved. I thought of things I loved about Mom, things I had told her, and some I had not. I thought of how happy it would make anyone to hear things that someone loved about them. And just like that, I had my plan.
I bought a box of children’s Valentine’s Day cards that came with tiny little envelopes. I chose ones with little bears wearing funny outfits, because Mom would have loved the silliness of them. I sat at my desk and carefully tore the strips of cards apart. I could almost feel Mom at my shoulder.
I wrote tiny messages to my mom on the cards. They weren’t anything spectacular, just simple little messages of love: Your smile makes my heart sing. I love the way your hair catches the sun. Thank you for being an example of kindness. You are loved. I sealed them into the envelopes, and wrote the same thing on the outside of each: If you found this, it is for you.
I stuffed the cards into my bag, and left the house. With no particular plan, I took a little tour of my city, leaving cards along the way. I tucked a card under the windshield wiper of a beat up car. I slipped one into a sneaker on display in a store. I left one on the counter at a coffee shop, and one stuck between two sodas in a drink cooler. With each one, I thought of Mom, of the many things I loved and missed about her. I thought of the joy she would have felt in knowing that my love for her was bringing a little happiness into the lives of others. I thought of the strength I felt in making a choice to lean into, rather than away from, my feelings of grief that surround this holiday.
My grief was telling me to ignore Valentine’s Day. My mom’s memory was telling me to find a way to celebrate that felt real and right in my heart. I won’t pretend that hiding children’s cards in random spots for strangers to find is going to be the right way for you to celebrate your loved one’s memory. I will say that you sometimes need to try something different when the thing you’ve been doing is just not bringing you any sense of happiness or peace.
I couldn’t have guessed that a two dollar box of cartoon bear cards could help me to feel that Valentine’s Day might be worth celebrating after all. I sent my love for Mom out into the universe, and that simple act helped me to feel filled with love myself. It’s an amazing thing to start with grief and sadness and finish with love and peace. Who knows, I may even ask my husband for a box of chocolates this year.
What ways will you celebrate your loved one this Valentine’s Day?
Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
Wear Red. Raise Your Voice.
Go Red on National Wear Red Day®
National Wear Red Day is a public awareness day urging everyone — women, men, businesses, towns, schools, the media, buildings and landmarks — to “go red” to bring attention to the No. 1 killer of American women, cardiovascular disease. On Friday February 1st, wear something red and show your support of this national movement that helps raise awareness to empower women to reduce their risk. By conducting a Wear Red Day fundraiser, you will help advance research and education to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.
The Red Dress® and National Wear Red Day
The Heart Truth® created and introduced the Red Dress℠ as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to remind women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspire them to take action. National Wear Red Day promotes the symbol and provides an opportunity for everyone—men and women alike—to unite in this life-saving awareness-to-action movement by wearing anything and everything red!
On Friday June 14th, 2014, Evergreen Washelli will celebrate Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the United States flag in 1777. The American flag flies free – a unifying symbol of our nation that soars proudly above our homes, camp sites, small businesses, corporate offices, hospitals and schools. The U.S. Flag Code states that the flag “when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Evergreen Washelli is in need of 5’ x 9 ½’ flags for The Avenue of Colors in our Veterans Memorial Cemetery, as well as for retiring flags upon Veteran’s cremations.
You may donate by bringing in a flag for donation, donating any dollar amount towards a new flag, or donating $70 for a new flag in memory of a loved one.
If you wish to donate a flag or funds to purchase them, please contact Brenda Spicer at (206)362-5200.
We will accept flags for retirement on Flag Day.
January 13, 1903 marked the first time Korean immigrant laborers landed on what was to eventually become US soil – Hawaii—to work on the sugar plantations. Later joined by other laborers in the same year, including 600 women, bringing total Korean American population in what was to become Hawaii to 7,291. In 1905 immigration of Koreans into America was funneled through san Francisco instead then in 1930’s shifted to los angeles as center for migration. New immigration law passed in 2007 removing restrictions on immigration of Asian americans to the US; therefore a new wave of immigrants entered seeking educational and economic opportunities.
Also noteworthy: first Asian Pacific American to ever be appointed to public office in US was Judge Herbert Choy, a Korean American US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, appointed by Richard Nixon to this federal court position in 1965.
The event on January 13th at SCC was attended by many dignitaries, including Washington State Senator Paull Shin; Washington State’s Lieutenant Governor, and many other representatives of State, County and local government.
There are over 130,000 people of Korean descent residing in Washington state; this was an opportunity to celebrate their heritage, their culture, and their contributions to the lives of all Washington residents.
Evergreen-Washelli has proudly served the Puget Sound area’s Korean American residents for over 50 years. We have established long standing relationships with several Korean Churches within our community as well as to individuals with whom we have provided compassionate care to multiple generations of Korean American families. We are proudly hosting our FIRST EVER Korean Community Event and Open House at our funeral home chapel at 3:30 pm on Sunday, January 26th. We have invited pastors and congregants from over 300 area Korean American churches to attend. This event is open to the public; if interested, see contact information below to RSVP.
The purpose of the event is to educate families on how to be better prepared for the inevitability of death. We will also inform any interested attendees on how they can pre-plan funeral goods and services at a discount or purchase cemetery property in advance of need, in a section specifically selected and designated to meet the cultural and traditional needs of the Korean community. All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of our Personal Planning Guide. Since we offer bilingual assistance to Korean Americans in need of our services, our event on January 26th will be presented in both Korean and English. To RSVP or for more information, please call Laura Humiston at 206.362.5200 ext 126 for assistance in English or Harry Kim at 206.834.1988 for assistance in Korean.
Evergreen Washelli is proud to announce Deloris Harshbarger as Caregiver of the Month of November!
“Deloris is an 80 year old RN who has spent her career serving and caring for the elderly. She often went to work on her time off to bring in a favorite home cooked dish that wasn’t served in the facility. Often she came in to do her patients nails. She, often, visits her patients if they were sent out to a hospital. Deloris is a rare gem who truly loves even the most difficult to love residents in her care.”
This is a wonderful example of what it means to be a Caregiver! Congratulations, Deloris! Thank you for your selfless devotion to caring for others in our community.
Nominate someone you know for the Caregiver of the Month award!
Evergreen Washeli is proud to announce Robby Mitchell, of CHC Services, as Caregiver of the Month of October! Robby works with seniors in the greater Seattle area delivering personal, individualized and loving care -… whether in their personal home or in a care facility. Robby recently went well above and beyond for a family that he has been working with. He helped ease the families burden during the relocation of their grandfather from Seattle to Connecticut. All throughout the day, Robby was in touch with the family, texting them photos and updates. The family shared, “…He was so appreciative that you put your hand on his shoulder and treated him like he was your own grandfather!” This is truly the spirit of what it means to be a Caregiver! Congratulations, Robbie! Thank you for your selfless devotion to caring for others in our community.
Nominate someone you know for the Caregiver of the Month award!
“To Remember, Honor, and Teach”
As many of you know, this year Evergreen Washelli will be holding our 4th Annual Wreaths across America. We will be celebrating veterans buried within our Veterans’ Cemetery section on December 14th, 2013 at 9:00 am, with a brief ceremony displaying the annual laying of donated wreaths by volunteers. As part of this event, Evergreen Washelli wanted to share with you how it all began. We are a small spot on the radar when it comes to the Wreath placements taking place this year, and many people might not even know that this event is bigger than just us. Hopefully this video will help show the bigger picture behind the wreath placements and why we are passionate about this event.
Last year we had donations of 200 wreaths, and this year we are already up to 600! Our goal in the future is to someday reach 5,000 wreaths, to be able to place one on each of the Veterans markers throughout the Veterans Cemetery. If you would like to help us expand this event and raise awareness please feel free to donate on the Wreaths Across America website or simply show up to the event to show your support. If you do chose to donate, please direct the donation towards Evergreen Washelli. You also have the option of personalizing the donation, such as dedicating it to one of your loved ones who has passed.
Here is a video demonstrating how Wreaths across America all began, and how these people have also inspired Evergreen Washelli to keep this tradition alive and growing with each year!
As the video states about our Veterans: “In life they honor their country, in death their country honors them”
Losing someone close is always a difficult experience.
At Evergreen Washelli, we understand the importance of keeping the ones we love close to our hearts. We offer Memory Glass keepsakes, designed to memorialize a loved one. Keepsake jewelry and glass pieces, made with crystal glass, allows grieving families to retain a small portion of their loved ones cremated remains in a beautiful and functional work of art. Available in many different designs and color patterns, it is a perfect expression of remembrance. Our heart keepsakes provide a beautiful reminder of your loved one and helps to keep the person dear close at heart. Multiple Memory Glass keepsake urns can be made to provide family members or friends with an inspirational and elegant memorial that will be cherished for generations to come. To order Memory Glass Keepsake, please contact our funeral directors at (206) 362-5200.