By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – It has now been several years since a dedicated group of volunteers initiated a fundraising effort to install a memorial at the Pine Grove Cemetery to honor the approximately 500 patients of the former Westborough State Hospital who are buried there.
From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, if a patient at the hospital passed away without any family members to take care of their final arrangements, they would be buried in the Potter’s Field at the cemetery, with only a small numbered stone to mark their grave.
As the fundraising effort for the memorial continues, a ceremony is held each year to honor those patients and ensure that they are never again, as they were for much too long, forgotten.
This year, in a beautiful and somber event organized by Employment Options as well as the Westborough Cemetery Memorial Project, the patients were remembered with music, prayer and words of inspiration.
Glenn Malloy has been a force since the early days behind the effort to build the memorial. As he has done so in the past, he captivated the audience June 22 with his powerful words.
Malloy was on track to become a champion college gymnast when he suffered a breakdown, he said. After years of “darkness,” he was able to find strength, he noted, thanks to the support of many “who shone their light” on him.
“Isolation and loneliness are of the hardest things to deal with,” he said. “Darkness can leave us feeling discouraged.”
The words of Mother Teresa, (“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,”) as the words of Isaiah (“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice”) also gave him comfort, he said.
“I am now here to elevate you,” he said to the audience. “Because your light has shone on me. And no one can take away that light.”
“And now, these people,” he said of the 500 patients, “need to be lifted up to the light, too.”
The ceremony also featured singer/guitarist Dave Jarvis and short commentaries from former Westborough Selectman George Barrette; Leigh Emery, the current chair of the board of selectmen; State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, (D-Acton); Liz Gulachenski, the director of services and programs at Employment Options; and Tim Meaney, who quoted the words of Psalm 15.
For those who wish to make a donation to the memorial, send checks made out to the “Westborough Cemetery Memorial Project Fund” and mail to P.O. Box 3198, Framingham, MA 01705.
Donations can also be made via the group’s Facebook page http://facebook.com/WestboroStateHospitalCemeteryProject and by clicking on the “Go Fund Me Link,” http://facebook.com/WestboroStateHospitalCemeteryProject. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information on Employment Options visit www.employmentoptions.org.