VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana Christmas Tree

VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana Christmas Tree

Twenty-some years ago a pine tree no taller than a stop sign was planted in the garden of the Arthur B. and Ethel V. Horton Hospice Center on the grounds of the VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana. The intent is that it would eventually be the featured “Tree of Remembrance” for the VNA’s annual holiday ceremony. As the years went by and the tree grew that idea was long forgotten as the seasonal service moved indoors to the warmth of local churches.

The tree now towers over the roofline of the building and is beautifully shaped and is as green as a spring pasture. But as picture-perfect as the tree is it has never truly fulfilled its purpose. Every holiday season since it was planted, it went overlooked, undecorated, and unadorned with lights. Until this year.

This summer an Arborist from the Purdue Extension office toured our grounds and commented on our beautiful pine. She mentioned how perfectly shaped and beautifully it stood, but noticed a couple of symptoms that it is likely nearing the end of its life cycle. She said it would likely have to be replaced in 3-5 years. It won’t be long that we’ll be talking about the tree’s last days.

Here at the VNA Hospice, though, we talk about Best Days. We decided that it was time for our beautiful tree to fulfill its promise and bring joy and an opportunity for reflection for our families. About a dozen strings of colorful lights later our tree now stands shining proudly in the night, a silent symbol of resilience and dignity. It is a way for us to honor our past and thank those nurses, support staff, and administrators who over 52 years earned the trust we’re privileged to carry on today. It is also a way for families to think fondly back on simpler times and happy holiday memories.

Our tree is finally fulfilling its purpose and even if it is 20-some years late, it will enjoy its Best Days by bringing smiles to others. So when you come to the back of our Center and see it, you might think it just looks like any other pine tree decorated with just simple lights, but you now know the rest of the story.