By Cassidy Smith, Written Communications Specialist
Memories. They shape our understanding of our past. They give us insight into the people around us. They bring us warmth when those within our memories are gone. We cling to memories when they are all that we have left of a loved one.
When my grandpa died unexpectedly in 2014, I held tight to the countless memories we had made together. From our annual family beach trips to his unexpected visits almost two hours from his home during my college days, he understood the value of creating memories with the people we love. He knew, as wise as he was, that one day, it would be all I had left of him. Other than some pictures, personal items, and the family that he created with my grandmother, memories were the only thing I had left of him, and I was so thankful that he knew I would need them.
In hospice care, we have that same understanding of the importance of having those memories with your loved ones. Time is fleeting, and when faced with something so immediate and so final, creating memories to hold onto finds its way to the top of the list of importance. We take on the healthcare side of the end-of-life process; you take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones, focusing on maximizing each and every minute with one another.
At the same time, while you create memories with the family and friends you love, our hospice team is filing away their own memories of their time with you. They remember the little details, like how you smiled when they brushed your hair, and the big details, like the laughter, tears, and questions they helped you through. Many of our nurses, chaplains, and volunteers have memories of families and people they have served throughout the years.
Alisha Rogers, Shepherd’s Cove Facility and Admissions Director, has many memories with her patients and their families. “One of my favorite memories,” she said, “is being invited and going to a birthday party for a patient. It was a blessing that they thought enough of me to invite me.”
Some of these memories are more subtle, yet still profound and moving. “One of the best memories I have with my patients is getting to hold my patient’s hand and sing hymns to her until her family arrived,” said Talina Shadix, Shepherd’s Cove IPU Director. “I did not want her to be alone, even for a second.”
While hospice aims to serve, comfort, and create memories for patients and families throughout their time with us, the times we get with you become memories for us as well. We remember the happy, the sad, the miracles, the beauty, and every other aspect of the end-of-life process. Your stories become part of our lives. We are shaped by them, moved by them, and inspired by them every day. When the job gets hard, your stories become the reasons we do the things we do, and we are so thankful for the opportunities to create memories with members of our communities again and again.