A Letter from Mom
A woman in the prime of her life, living as she had hoped and planned in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood with her two children and a wonderful husband and their pet dog. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. She received surgery and treatment with little success. Her doctor said there was nothing more to do than to go home and be with her family. I met her at this time. She told me about how sad she felt that she would not see her children grow up and that they would not know her.
She agreed to meet a volunteer. A match was made and during the first visits she talked with the volunteer about how sad she was that she would not be with her children to watch them grow up – to look after them. They would not know her – her dreams for them – what she was like. As the volunteer and this young woman talked, they developed a plan. The first part was a shopping trip and very carefully they chose birthday cards for each of her children for each of their birthdays until they were 20. Then the real work began – this Mom began to write for her life. She wrote a message for each of her children, for each of their birthdays. A special note about what she was thinking about them. When she was no longer strong enough to write, the volunteer became her scribe.
When all of the writing was done, each card was carefully sealed in an envelope and put away. One week later, she died. As a result of the volunteer connection, a legacy was left. Her children would know their mother – what she was like – what she hoped for them – how much she loved them.
Volunteers are invited into a sacred space and share such amazing care and concern with some very special people. I feel honoured to be in the company of such amazing people.
Originally published in Hospice Palliative Care Ontario 2020 newsletter.