Celebrating National Hospice & Palliative Month – A Bereaved Daughter’s Experience

Categories: Donor Stories

I was grateful—but not surprised– that Evergreen Hospice cared for my dying mother’s needs with skill and compassion in the spring of 2018. Very apparent was Hospice’s belief that the end of life deserves as much beauty, care and respect as the beginning.
What blew me away was the over-the-top support Evergreen Hospice provided me in my evolution from a grieving, harried and overwhelmed daughter, to a peaceful survivor of an unspeakable loss.
Knowing I will never find the right words, I will nonetheless try to explain my gratitude by providing a few snapshots:
♥ Days before my mom died, I sat on the stairs at her residence and wept. A call came to me from her social worker. Through my anguish and devastation, I grasped to digest a pearl of wisdom. She told me that the three most important things I could do before my mom died were: 1) Ask forgiveness for any wrongs I had done; (2) Forgive her for anything I needed to forgive her for, and (3) Tell her I love her. The next day when we had this heart-to-heart discussion, my mom wept tears of relief and gratitude, as did I. I will never forget this conversation as long as I live.
♥ As I sat holding my mom’s hand the day before she died, pastor Kevin came to offer spiritual counsel. His gentle, compassionate presence was palatable. Seemingly effortlessly, he comprehended our non-traditional spiritual beliefs, and spoke words of wisdom and comfort. I felt my upset and anguish morph into seeds of peace and acceptance. I liked Kevin so much that I asked if he could officiate at my mom’s memorial service, which he did with grace, understanding and kindness.
♥ A few hours before my mom’s death—at my request—a lovely musical therapist came and played the harp bedside, as I gently stroked my mother. The music was ethereal, as if it were calling her to the beyond. She died just hours later. I believe the music allowed her to go, and it certainly brought me great peace in a way that no words could.
♥ This same woman played the harp at my mom’s memorial service, deeply touching everyone in the room.
♥ After my mom’s death I attended the 6 week Creative Expressions of Grief support group, led by gifted counselor Michael Luske. Through art and music, group members creatively explored mourning and life changes. I crafted pieces of art I will treasure for the rest of my life and learned about the power of nonverbal methods of healing.
♥ After the group ended, I had several private grief therapy sessions with Michael. He helped me understand the complexities of grief and how it can be different for every loss. He gave me effective coping techniques. I now am at a place of deep peace with this profound loss. I also feel I can be a better friend to others undergoing their own grief processes.
♥ I recently attended Evergreen Hospice’s annual Rose Garden Memorial Ceremony, which is a community-wide event to remember and honor those who have died. The poems, music and camaraderie were beautiful and healing. My favorite part was scattering rose petals into the babbling stream that runs through the peaceful courtyard gardens.
~ Thank you, Evergreen Hospice, not only for what you did for my mom, but for me as well ~ Mary D. -Bereaved Daughter