Northern Michigan in Focus: Hospice Crosses

Losing a loved one is always extremely emotional. Thankfully there are people out there that care and will help you through those tough moments.

Last Jan. Jim Sommerfield lost his wife of 47 years, Mary Ellen, to stage four lung cancer. Near the end of her life, Hospice of Michigan was called in to help, comfort and support.

“We help families in taking care of their loved ones no matter what and no matter what environment they’re in. I always like to say we’re like a nest that surrounds people in their most vulnerable time,” says Beth Urban of Hospice of Michigan

Jim could not have been more grateful for the help from Hospice of Michigan.

“When Hospice of Michigan comes in they just kind of take over. When Beth came in we had Mary Ellen and she was there. She brought over the drugs, they had their own doctor and then it was never having to go to a store again. They were just there all the way through,” said Jim. “It was probably three months after she passed away and hospice would call and check on my well-being, and I was trying to come up with some idea of how I felt about them and I just sat down and made several small crosses.”

Jim wanted to give back to the people who gave so much to him when he was hurting. So Jim decided to make crosses for those in hospice care, and to this day he’s made over 1,200 crosses.

“I  pretty much don’t have any day where I don’t pass one out and I’ve watched family members as their loved aren’t responsive and literally take that cross and put it on them or put it beside them just to have that presence of God in that moment,” said Beth.

Like Tina Kigar’s mom who had Alzheimer’s.

Tina explained “She knew when the nurses came and we would re-position her and we would take it out of her hand and she would move her hand looking for her cross all the time. She held that cross until the night she died.”

Jim doesn’t do this for money or recognition. He gives these away. His reasons are bigger than any one person.

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus