"Sacred Leaf," a program at MapleCreek, senior living provided by Lutheran Social Services of Michigan in Grand Rapids, offers comfort and supports people through the end-of-life process.
The program's kit includes a flameless candle, CD player and CDs, lip balm, lotion, tissue, a journal and pen for visitors, and a booklet to help people understand the physical process of death.
As his father neared death, Sacred Leaf provided solace for John Horning and his family — sister Linda Heine and their mother (a resident of The Woods, part of the senior living complex).
"When we kept the light low and the candle on, it helped set a gentle mood," Horning said. "When we didn't know what to do, I suggested that Mom put the chapstick on his lips, and rub his head and face with the lotion. I think Dad felt more comfortable when Mom was doing this for him. People who came to visit would write in the journal, and we knew other people had been there. We were pleasantly surprised to see who had stopped in, read to him from the Bible and prayed with him, particularly some employees."
Sacred Leaf is the creation of Rebecca Ebb-Spease, an ELCA pastor and MapleCreek's director of pastoral care, and Jill Schrotenboer, social worker.
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