The look on Susan Jones’ face was priceless as Halcyon Hospice team members delivered teddy bears made by Halcyon’s Threads of Love Volunteer Program. Mrs. Jones’ mother, Jacqueline Odom, was a beloved patient under Halcyon’s care for 16 months as she suffered from Debility and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The bears were made from Mrs. Odom’s favorite clothing items as lasting memories for her daughter and grandsons. “I always loved to see Mama in her seersucker pants. They were my very favorite thing to see her wear. This bear will have to stay with me,” stated Jones.
Threads of Love is a program designed to help grieving families cope with the loss of their loved ones. The Bears (or blankets) are made with loved ones clothing or special materials and created to comfort the family members. Families have shared that these are wonderful, tangible keepsakes.
The Jones family developed strong bonds with members of their care team while their mother was on service. It was a special reunion when Lead Bereavement Coordinator Jeff Brookshire and C.N.A. Belinda Whitmire visited their home to deliver the bears. “We had such a wonderful team helping us with Mama… she had nicknames for her hospice friends. She’d always call Jeff by the name of her former pastor. Martha Dunagan, Volunteer of Halcyon’s Project Bloom Program was considered ‘The Flower Lady.’ She’d come every week to bring Mama flowers. She really looked forward to her visit.”
When Mrs. Odom was referred to hospice, the family wasn’t entirely sure of all the benefits hospice provided. They knew that caregiver support was involved but didn’t know exactly the level of care their mom would receive. They expressed their overwhelming appreciation not only for the physical support but also for the emotional and spiritual comfort they experienced.
“Her C.N.A. would sing to her while she bathed her. Mama knew all the songs and would sing along…’I love you a bushel and a peck! A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck! You bet your pretty heart I do – love – you!…’ that one was her favorite…they sang it all the time.” Susan’s sons knew how much that song meant to their Grandmother and their Mother. The youngest son even found a pillow with the song lyrics printed on it.
Having tangible reminders as special memorials to honor loved ones who have died is a great way to commemorate their lives and keep very special memories alive. It’s also a very important and necessary aspect of healing. Tami Dedels, Halcyon Hospice Volunteer Coordinator states “We can’t control loss in our lives, but we can create keepsakes that enable loved ones to live on in our hearts and help in our personal healing. These tangible items are reminders of a life well lived.”
Halcyon Hospice is grateful to our wonderful families that allow us to serve them. The bonds that our employees and volunteers share with their patients and families are so enriching and remind us all that the opportunity to touch lives is truly a rewarding experience.
If you are interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, please visit the volunteer section of our website or call us at 855-328-1700.