Reflection garden dedicated in memory of cancer patient | Articles

In his final days battling colon cancer, Adam Koslosky and his family headed outside for fresh air and sunshine. But the only place to gather was near the entrance of Methodist Hospital. The setting was less than ideal. They had to deal with foot traffic and the sound of cars driving by.

After Koslosky died, his wife, Kathy, worked with the Methodist Hospital Foundation to install a reflection garden at the hospital near 84th and Dodge Streets. The garden fills in the green space between the hospital and the employee parking garage.

On Monday, the Koslosky family – along with hospital and foundation officials – dedicated the garden named for the family patriarch. The dedication took place one day after Koslosky’s birthday.

The space, which is wheelchair-accessible, offers seating tucked into a retaining wall, foliage and a water feature.

Koslosky, who died at age 61 on March 18, 2018, was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2017. He spent three months at home before spending his final 39 days at Methodist.

One of his final requests was to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair.

After Koslosky’s death, his wife wanted to offer a place for other patients to spend time outside with their families.

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A Rotary Moment: Lorrie Parker Garden, Morris Garden 2 additions to Montgomery’s Memory Park

September rains bring lots of green grass and lush foliage in Memory Park!

Memory Park in Montgomery, located behind the Charles B Stewart West Branch Library, is a beautiful site at any time, but particularly so after a rain. The birds are everywhere, the fish are jumping and the plants enjoy the drenching. I’m wondering if the family of rabbits who were there at opening still reside on the east side around Rainbow Bridge Garden – mom, we’ll have to check that out.

There have been several additions to the park this year. We’ll highlight two of them today and save the others for next week.

Rotarians Lorrie and Gary Parker, who were among the first to purchase bricks in the Rose Garden prior to opening day in 2005, recently saw work on their family garden completed. They created the “Lorrie Parker Garden” in memory of Lorrie’s dad, Wilbur Rowe and her mom, Geraldine “Jerry” Rowe. “I am from Ohio” said Lorrie, “as were my parents, and when my dad passed, of course, he was buried as was my mom, in Ohio. I wanted to have a special place here in Texas just for my parents. Memory Park is the perfect place because not only does it have a lake but it also adjoins the library. Growing up, our summers were spent at our lake house cottage in Michigan. During my high school years, my parents and I were visiting colleges back when I was trying to decide which school to go to. At each school, my dad insisted on going to each of the school’s libraries. The bench that was placed at my parent’s area faces the library. I hope that the special place at Memory Park brings some peace to those who have lost a loved one or maybe going through a difficult time. I know it does for me. Just walking around Memory Park lifts the weight of any burdens I may have and a sense of calmness wraps around me like a warm blanket in a cold winter.” The view of the park and the library from that location is beautiful indeed, and when the flags are up, their reflection in the water adds an additional breathtaking dimension. The garden includes a “witches cauldron” that belonged to Lorrie’s mom. Gary helped installed drip lines to the pots to water the plants. Also in the garden is a stone for Lorrie’s Dad, which declares “He Sang It Like He Lived – With All His Heart” followed by the words to the beautiful “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

The second garden is called “The Morris Garden” and is the creation of Christina and Bill Rathbun. Jack Morris, Christina’s ex and the father of her two sons, passed away earlier this year after battling a chronic condition for a long time. Six months later, the family lost Jason, the older of the two sons, from a sudden heart attack. Jack was great friends with Bill and remained a

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A Space for Memory and Community Connection

IKAR publishes a Yizkor book every year that features members’ stories of loved ones who have died. Reading these reflections during Yom Kippur services — along with the Yizkor service — was a way to connect deeply with other IKARites, and to serve as witnesses to their loss and learn more about how they became the people they are today. 

This year, as with everything relating to the High Holy Days in the era of COVID-19, the space that IKAR carves out for grief had to be rethought. The result is IKAR’s Yizkor Memorial Garden, a physical space on IKAR’s patio off La Cienega Boulevard, with an exhibit that holds people’s memories and limits the number of visitors at any one time for health and safety reasons.

IKAR Assistant Rabbi Keilah Lebell, who created the space with co-chairs and IKAR members Samara Hutman and Sarah Goldfinger, said the goal was to create “a way for people to come to a physical space and have a Yizkor moment that didn’t have anything to do with a screen.” 

Photos courtesy of Samara Hutman

Feedback from several mourners shaped a more interactive experience that also adhered to safety guidelines. Hutman, who had been a set decorator for years, suggested a garden, Lebell said, and created “something that’s alive, where people could visit and spend time there.” Lebell credited Goldfinger for knowing “how to create sacred space and a sense of beauty.”  

“[The experience] had to be something touch-free,” Goldfinger said. “How do you create a space that feels interactive even if you’re not touching anything?” 

 “We were groping for how people can be together because it’s been so painful to mourn in isolation.” — Samara Hutman

The team settled on asking visitors to take a stone with them from the entrance and deposit it in a mandala’s spiral before they exit. “When you go to a cemetery, you leave a pebble,” Goldfinger said. “With our stone activity, the idea is to pick one up and carry it through and put it in a spiral in a sacred community of mourners. So even though you didn’t touch anyone, you see people mourning with you.” She added, “The sculptures and mandalas on the ground do the job of ushering you into the space.”

Hutman said, “We were groping for how people can be together because it’s been so painful to mourn in isolation.” 

Lebell noted that one guiding idea was the wall of candles present in many churches. “You might be completely alone but you light a candle and see the other candles that are lit and know that others have been there,” she said. “We are all part of this space together, creating connection between community members.” 

Photos courtesy of Samara Hutman

On Monday afternoon, the garden was empty of people, but the breeze carried sounds that you only hear when human voices are absent: air lightly whipping at sheltering tarps, wind chimes tinkling idiosyncratically, the bubbling fountains creating a spa-like calm. 

“It is

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