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Mindful : February 2014
February 2014 mindful 49 education to go into the rooms at hospice because I didn’t wa nt to bother anyone. But I realized how much the fami- lies appreciate it. Now I feel much more comfortable with everything.” The quilt piece Delaney is ma king is dedicated to her grandma. She has a photo of herself with her t wo sisters and her g ra ndmother, which she’ll stitch on to the fabric from one of her grandmother’s favorite bead-covered shirts. “She wore it on her 80th birthday,” she says of her card-playing g randma, who was lovingly referred to as Little Momma. “I asked her if I could use it for the quilt.” Delaney was at the hospice the day her grand- mother died but had left about five minutes before it happened. Her sister Tessa, her dad, a nd her uncle were there. “I knew what to expect. We had made a huge list of all the signs to watch for in the death process. It was helpful—I knew what it was going to look like.” Beside her, Kayli O’Keefe is ma king two quilt squa res. One is for Wendy, the former speech pa- thologist, a nd one is for her other favorite resident, a Dallas Cowboys fan na med John. John’s square → Memorable Moments at Hospice Caitlin Richard, 17 “Midway through the year, a resident named Lucy was having trouble breathing. It was difficult and she was crying a lot of the time. It was hard to see that. But one shift, I came in and said, ‘Hi Lucy,’ and her whole face lit up. I didn’t even have to do anything. It was just being there. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that smile.” Emily Hanss, 18 “I was with this one resident, Mary. She was agitated and nervous. I was sitting near her bed and I just held her hand. Eventually, she calmed down and fell asleep. It was such a beautiful moment. I’m not her family, but I could be there and comfort her.” Meghan Sita Dewan, 17 “It’s the universality of the lives we lead. It doesn’t matter if we’re different in age or background. There’s always something we have in common, some way that our lives interact. I interact in my daily life with people who are a lot like me. They might not seem like they are, but they are.” Sofoniyas Worku, 18 “Margay moved to a hospital because she got better at hospice and was too well to stay. I went and saw her there four times. The last time I visited her, her health had declined again. She recognized me but she couldn’t stay awake for long because she had taken really strong medicine. Later I was told that, 20 minutes after I left, she died.” Carolyn Rumrill, 18 “Mary decided she needed a shower. I had never bathed someone before. I ended up doing her hair, massaging in the shampoo and conditioner. Weallloveitwhenwegotothe hairdresser, and it was nice to be able to get her to relax. Her whole body just loosened. “There were moments when I’d be holding someone’s hand. They need that connection and are so grateful for you being there with them. A lot of times, it’s not the conversations—it’s being connected, so they’re not alone.” Alejandra Biaggi, 18 “Mary and I were chatting away, and then I thought she was sleeping, so I stopped. She said, ‘I’m not sleeping yet, keep talking.’ I put lotion on her feet and her whole body relaxed. Then she said she liked my nails and wished her nails were done. So I did her feet and cut her nails. She sat there like a queen, and I loved it. She asked me to talk to her and tell her about my life. When my shift ended, I heard one of the other volunteers comment on her nails, and Mary said, ‘The beautiful girl who just left did them for me.’ That just made my day.” Andrew Regelski, 18 “When we do our work with the attitude of ‘How I can bring their mood up, make them happy?’ we’re bound to have a good shift. That attitude extends into life after doing hospice for a while.” “The only way empathy is stimulated and nurtured is through touch and contact—when you’re in a vulnerable position but you’re willing to open up.” Hospice teacher Bob Kane