Spirit Gate PhotoA couple of years ago, while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off as an under resourced hospital based palliative care physician, my friend Natalia Sobota, palliative care social worker, directed my attention to something I was missing. As the months and years flowed by, so did the lives and deaths of hundreds of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives. I estimate that we have cared for more than 1500 human beings over these last eight years that have died. Our memories were spotty and overwhelmed by each story and Natalia pointed out that we had no ritual of remembrance.

That changed when my daughter, Bella, joined me to build a piece of art for the wall in the tiny hospital palliative care office. My son, Max, named it the “Spirit Gate”, and for two years we hung a stone for each person that completed their life under our care.

At the launch of ResolutionCare in January of 2014, we knew we needed to do something similar.
So we built the “Spirit Tree” at the ResolutionCare office. Whenever one of our people dies, we acknowledge who they were to us and what they taught us, and we hang a stone in remembrance.


Spirit Stones PhotoSpirit Tree Photo

As we begin our second year, we have to get a new tree. You are welcome to visit.
With Love and Respect,
By |2017-05-09T10:34:12+00:00January 28th, 2016|ResolutionCare Blog|6 Comments


  1. Tisa Jewell January 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Beautiful. I hope one day to have a stone for me on the tree

    • Michael January 30, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

      All things is there time. Thanks for bringing yourself here for this developing conversation on the meaning of living and dying today.

  2. Tobin January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Wow. Tears are streaming down my face. So moving. Remembrance! Ahhh. Love and blessings to you, Michael, Bella, and the Resolution Care team on your good work. Blessings.

    • Michael January 30, 2016 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Big love and ample tissues to you, Tobin!

  3. Mary February 11, 2016 at 4:57 am - Reply

    This post exudes calm and care, and an openness and willingness to help. “Showing up” initially and repeatedly is what helps make the human connection.
    I volunteer with a hospice in the deep south- their model is paternal with an “it’s in god’s hands” attitude. I choose to be open, ask questions and simply “be there” for the patient and/or family.

  4. Sherry Richert Belul February 11, 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful post. We all want to know that our lives matter. That we will be remembered after we’ve died. I so appreciate the respect, compassion, and dignity that ResolutionCare provides to everyone. I love this story + your Spirit Tree. Thank you.

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