FRANKLIN — This past Monday, staff and board members from Franklin VNA & Hospice gathered together with those remembering loved ones and Winnisquam Regional Middle School's Future Farmers of America group for the first Loving Bulb event. The group gathered to hear the names of those hospice patients who have died in the past year, and plant remembrance crocuses in their memory. This annual event is meant to memorialize those who have died, and bring attention to the upcoming National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, observed in November.

While a flower associated with joy may seem a strange choice for a memorial planting, Elaine Cartier, hospice director for Franklin VNA & Hospice, said, "Just as the bulbs will survive through the cold of winter and bloom in the spring, we too will survive through grief and come out stronger on the other side of it, able to see the joy in the world again. In planting these bulbs, we honor those who we love who have died, and also recognize the strength of the human spirit."

Franklin VNA & Hospice Chaplain Tobias Nyatsambo sees additional meaning, and noted, "As we plant these bulbs in memory of someone who died, I am reminded of the life cycle of birth, growth, aging and death. These bulbs that we have planted into the ground look almost lifeless. But come spring they will burst out with life and with beauty."

The hill where the bulbs were planted is one of the first areas to have snow melt in the spring, allowing the early blooming crocus to make an early appearance in the garden at the onset of spring. Much of the planting was done by the Winnisquam Regional Middle School’s Future Farmers of America group and their teachers, Michael Petrun, the director of the agricultural program, and agricultural teacher Jennifer Solter-Jones. The Winnisquam Agriculture Center students are deeply involved in both the development and maintenance of the Teuscher–Wilson Hospice Garden. The garden, located behind the Franklin VNA & Hospice’s office at 75 Chestnut St., is open to the public, and visitors are encouraged to explore and visit the patio, laid with new memorial bricks each spring.

Noted Cartier, "We strongly believe in supporting and being involved with the local community, after all Franklin VNA & Hospice is your local Visiting Nurse and Hospice. Since the Winnisquam Agriculture Center serves students from WRHS as well as Belmont, Franklin, Gilford, Interlakes, Laconia and Merrimack Valley high schools we know it’s a connection that supports that mission."

For more information, call Franklin VNA & Hospice at 60-934-3454, or visit www.FranklinVNA.org.

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