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"Every Life Has Meaning"

At Emmanuel Hospice, compassion is our calling, so we’ve grown to understand the end of life is a time of reflection. We recently launched a program designed to capture patient stories, memories, and words of wisdom as they near the end of life and reflect on the past. Hospice volunteer Karin Orr uses the resources at to capture patient stories with a digital biography, which can include digitally stored photos and videos. Orr asks patients guiding questions to spur memories and fill in details, which she use to guide the conversation about a patient’s life story.

Karin was drawn to become a volunteer from the experiences of her unique life story. She began her career as a college professor, worked as a columnist for the Grand Rapids Press, hosted her own cooking show on WVGU, and eventually became a minister in the United Methodist Church. Thanks to this program, Karin has the chance to do volunteer work that combines her passion and skills for connecting with people and telling stories.

When Karen asks someone about their life story, she states “most people begin with, ‘I don’t have anything to say.’ But then, as I dig deeper and build a relationship, the most incredible stories start coming out.”

Karen likes using questions from the website as a way to highlight the small details of a person’s life that, she says, “end up meaning the world to families once their loved one has passed away.”

The BeRemembered program perfectly illustrates Emmanuel’s commitment to celebrating the lives of our patients. It not only reflects the values of our hospice ministry, it offers a chance for our patients to collect stories and memories for loved ones to treasure; all while our volunteers build deep relationships with those we serve.

Karin said that if she could sum up this program in one sentence, it would be “Every life has meaning.” That’s the ultimate goal of the BeRemembered program at Emmanuel Hospice: to honor and celebrate the stories that add meaning to every person’s life.

If you want to be a part of this program, we are currently recruiting volunteers to help our patients share their stories. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Emmanuel Hospice, contact Heidi Pelton, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at 616-250-5154 or