Lights of Remembrance: Memorializing Loved Ones in a Community Healing Garden

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The Dora Efthim Healing Garden, adjacent to the Parlin Hospice Residence, was established in 2000 by longtime MetroWest residents Bill and Mavis Efthim to memorialize Bill’s inspirational older sister, Dora. Suffering from Lupus, Dora became bedridden at age 27, just as Bill left home to serve in the US Army during the Korean War. While Bill was away, their mother was Dora’s sole caretaker until Dora sadly succumbed to her illness the following year. Bill was compelled to honor his sister through a healing garden, serving the community and specifically families involved with hospice care, a service that would have been extremely beneficial to his own family during his sister’s end of life journey.

The garden was designed by Wayland resident Susan S. Foley and is modeled after a Native American medicine wheel, representing four character traits: wisdom, illumination, introspection, and innocence. The space also features paperbark maple trees whose peeling bark symbolizes loss and renewal and a granite “rain catcher” sculpture created by Morgan Faulds Pike. The Efthims have been committed to the garden since its inception, spending countless hours tending to it and ensuring it is lovingly maintained as a therapeutic respite for all its visitors.  This tranquil garden is a peaceful space to reflect on life, love and loss.