Legend says if you whisper to a dove, it will carry your message to the heavens.

And that's why a dove release took place in the Healing Garden at Grand Arbor last month, according to Deb Hadley, spiritual care and bereavement coordinator for Knute Nelson Hospice.

The Memorial Dove Release is held each year in Alexandria and Wadena in memory of 299 patients who died under the care of Knute Nelson Hospice between May 1 of the previous year and April 30 of the current year.

Dennis Imdieke of Wadena, who is known to many as Dennis the Dove Man, supplied the birds. Three of the 50 birds released were doves, while the others were white homing/carrier pigeons, said Hadley.

"It's just so emotional," she said. "And heartfelt. It couldn't have been more beautiful."

Hadley said the dove release can be another level of healing for those family members who have had family or friends die. For those who are still in mourning, she said it can make people feel closer to their loved one.

During the ceremony, each person's name was read and any family or friends who attended stood up.

"It truly was so emotional, spiritual and just beautiful," said Hadley. "This event is also a time of great healing for both staff and families who have journeyed together during an end-of-life experience."

During the Alexandria event, she said that more than 100 staff and family members came together to remember, pray, sing, laugh, cry and celebrate.