DES MOINES, Iowa – On Wednesday, Fleur Heights Care Center residents held a memorial for five individuals who died from COVID-19 in 2020. The center planted a tree in their memory.
“A tree symbolizes growth. A tree symbolizes new life and simply a place we can go and reflect on all those we lost,” said Jennifer Conner, the owner of Fleur Heights Care Center.
Conner owns two senior care centers with her brother in the state. Between both centers, several individuals died from the virus. “Between the two facilities, we lost about 20 individuals. Unfortunately, it was a very trying time,” said Conner.
Last year was a challenging year for resident 96-year-old Jessie Dick. She came down with COVID-19 but recovered. “They called every day, and I would talk to her on the telephone. April was her nurse, and April was wonderful,” said Dick’s daughter Barbara Lasts, “She watched after mom, and we were just lucky.”
Although COVID-19 claimed several lives last year, Conner believes the tree will symbolize hope and life for the future.
“It’s such a great reminder that the circle of life goes on and life will go on, and we can have hope, and we can have faith even in the midst of all the terrible things that have happened and things that we are dealing with,” said Susie Moews, Moments Hospice Chaplin.
The center plans to build a gazebo around the tree so that residents will have a place to sit and reflect.