This past weekend, Solaris celebrated with families in our annual Memorial to honor their loved ones. It is a time of remembrance for the families and for our staff. Dr. Kelley Tibbels was our guest speaker for the event and he talked about memories and legacy, about the importance of passing down from generation to generation the simple things like a firm handshake, and how your word was your word and that it meant you were going to do what you said.
He said that growing up, he was not a “hugger” and that he learned to hug from his mother in law, who has since passed away. Some of the families that were there shared legacies of their mother and how she had unconditional love for their family. Another talked about how cooking to their mother was very important and anyone that came over would never leave hungry.
During the memorial, we blended two different colors of sand signifying that as the sand can no longer be separated neither can the memories of our loved ones. As much as our families shared stories about their loved ones, they were also deeply appreciative of our staff for their knowledge in getting their loved one out of pain, the comforting visits to pray for them, or the volunteer to allow them to rest.
To make memories and to leave a legacy takes a special kind of love as evidence from a former patient in this poem below:
“Hospice Nurses and Volunteers”
It takes a special kind of love
To know just what to do
When entering a pain-filled home,
Where a life is almost through.
You meet the needs of people who
Need healing while they live.
You help them find the dignity
To plan and to forgive.
This is what you’re all about.
You never criticize.
You’re there to love and to accept
And never moralize.
You offer to each family
A ministry of hope.
You bring to them the courage to
Be strong and learn to cope.
So many rivers yet to cross;
So many unshed tears.
Your caring and compassion show
The way to conquer fear.
As we walk through life, we have opportunity everyday to leave memories and legacies not only with our family, but with those we come face to face with. Do you have a contagious smile? How about a firm handshake? Or a meal to share with a friend who may be going through chemotherapy treatments? Sharing tears where there is overwhelming fear or sadness? If you polled most Solaris staff they would tell you they feel they have been called by God to work in hospice and that it is a ministry of hope.