21st Annual Tree of Light Ceremony Pays Touching Tribute to Hospice Team and Honors Loved Ones


Saddleback Memorial Foundation and MemorialCare Hospice and Palliative Services held the 21st annual Tree of Light ceremony on December 3.

The event brings together community members in a special evening to remember loved ones. Speakers included wife and husband Judy Oberman and Frank Yturralde of Laguna Woods, who spoke about the “angels on earth” of the hospice team who cared for Judy’s mother in her last two months. They also cared for Judy’s father several years ago.

“They were so wonderful to mom,” Judy said. “Someone came nearly every day. We would read to her and sing to her. And I could call any of them anytime.”

Hospice team members offered new holiday traditions that could be established to help cope with the loss of a loved one. One included the lighting of four candles that represented grief, courage, memories and love.

Guests then gathered in a large circle around the decorated Tree of Light, and each one spoke of the loved one they were remembering, lighting a candle. Then the Tree of Light was lit up all at once.

“The loving care of hospice really made the transition for us and my mom and dad just beautiful,” Oberman added. “Now I feel I am ready to face anything because of them.”

Oberman and Yturralde are planning a fundraiser in February 2016 to benefit Hospice and Palliative Services.

“I know my parents know what we’re doing, and they would be proud,” Oberman added. “They raised us to give back. The hospice team works so hard, and we want everyone to know that.”

The Tree of Light will remain on display throughout the holiday season in the foyer of Conference Room 1 at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center. 

In addition, loved ones who were honored with a tribute donation to Saddleback Memorial Foundation are listed in the Book of Remembrance, which is on display in the hospital chapel through January 3, 2016.

All Tree of Light donations benefit Hospice and Palliative Services, consisting of compassionate nurses, social workers, and volunteers who provide comfort and care to the seriously and terminally ill and their family members. So far this year the Foundation has received nearly $10,000 Tree of Light contributions, and continues to receive donations.

To make a tribute donation in honor of or in memory of a loved one, contact Saddleback Memorial Foundation at (949) 452-3724 or smf@memorialcare.org, or visit our Tribute Giving page for more information.