Education Newsletter: Sally's Blog - December 2020


BLOG 2 :  “What a year”

So we come to the end of 2020 and with the rest of the country, I’m pretty sure that we are all going to be sighing with relief that it’s over.  

I began working here at the hospice back in January, delaying my start date due to the fact that my dad had died just before Christmas. So not only did I have the stress of starting a new job, but had the stress of dealing with my own grief and preparing for the funeral of my father. So many people have suffered with the death of a loved one this year and I feel fortunate that we were able to give our father such an amazing (and I felt ‘perfect’) ‘send-off’. 

The day started as a crisp, clear January morning with a beautiful sunrise. We were fortunate to stay in our old family home, which is now a holiday let. My two brothers, nephews and my sons were able to carry my dad into the chapel for the service and I had pre-recorded myself playing a simple piano piece so that I could be part of that procession too (I had help from the hospice in loaning me the recording equipment to enable this). All of his children were able to talk to him at the jam-packed chapel and share his life with those that had known him. 

I feel so sad that with the pandemic, those ceremonies that were held following a death have either been abandoned or had such a small number attending. Both, undoubtingly, having an effect on those that are grieving. My son told me a quote from David Eagleman: There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” 

I hope that once the pandemic becomes a distant memory that those families that have suffered grief can have the ceremony to celebrate that person’s life or maybe do something to keep them alive in their thoughts and memories. 

Here at the hospice, we have some ways to enable people to remember a loved one. There is a memory tree where the leaves and rocks are engraved with the name of loved ones who have died, making a poignant focal point within the Hospice, symbolising the many precious memories. We also have a sunflower appeal where a dedication is attached to a sunflower marker and then they are displayed in small wheelbarrows. These are an amazing sight of bright sunshine yellow which always catch the eye.

Personally, I went down the path of creating a memory bear. Your loved one’s clothes are used to create a beautiful keepsake bear. I found making my own a lovely way to feel close to my dad and made some for my step mother, though the professional ones that the hospice make look so much better – Mine were more like mice than bears ha-ha.  

Finally we have the Light up a Life in dedication of your loved one, with a virtual Christmas remembrance service being held on 23 December this year.  This Christmas is going to be a very different one for some of us, whether we remain parted from our families to keep precious loved ones safe or maybe taking this time to remember those dear to us that are no longer with us. 

However, you spend your Christmas I would like to wish you all a peaceful one and here’s to a happy and heathy 2021.  

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