I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together

I just finished making a list of all of the clients we served who died this year.  It’s a list of twenty-nine names, plus the names of three caregivers who also passed this year.  Behind each and every name is a story.

Affordable Home Care, Assisted Home Care, At-Home Caregivers, Care for Older People, Companion Home Care, Non-Medical Senior CareThere was “Billie,” one of my very first clients when I started with Right at Home nine years ago.  He was a man who lived to go fishing in the spring, and he had a contagious laugh!   There was “Bill” who had already outlived two significantly younger wives and who gave his third one a run for her money!  And who could forget “Dennis”?  Dennis had friends wherever he went because he “spoiled” people with homemade treats, and they would do anything for him.  “Mary” was demanding and had very high expectations of her caregivers. She was tenacious, strong, and a fighter to the very end.  “Rosie” hung on until she was sure that her beloved cat had a good home.  So many personalities, so many stories!

Loss is real to those of us who provide in-home help for seniors. We know that death is inevitable.  Regardless of this, in order to do our jobs well, and because we are human, we get close to our clients as they remain in our care for years.   To honor these people who were once our cherished clients, we publish a list of their names in our quarterly caregiver newsletter, Your Home Page.

There are many ways to honor loved ones who have passed.  Perhaps you light a candle every year on the birth date of your loved one.  Some families display Easter lilies at Easter or poinsettias at Christmas time in honor of their missing loved ones.  One man I know wears his grandfather’s wedding ring as a remembrance.  When I make bread, I use the bowl my grandmother gave me, which she used for the same reason.  My church honors the members we have lost during the year with a special service in which the family members come forward to light candles in their memory.  There are hundreds of ways to keep alive the memories of those people who were important and special in our lives. It’s an act of healing to reflect upon what we learned from these people, what was special about them, and how they impacted us.

In what ways do you honor the loved ones who have gone before you?

In what ways do you keep the memories of your loved ones alive?

How are you different as a result of a loved one having been in your life?

 

Julie Ellingson, LSW

December 30, 2011

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