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Precious Gems 64 - Remembering our Loved Ones
02 September 2021


Over 40 families joined us on our virtual Sunflower Remembrance Day event last Saturday. With the ongoing restrictions, it had not been feasible to plan for a physical event for the last year and a half. Each of our past remembrance events was always filled with warm hugs, smiles and tears and we were initially concerned that with a virtual event, we would not be able to replicate the warmth of physical touch, in a face to face event. But we endeavoured and to kick off the event, we delivered a care pack, a thoughtful work of love by our staff and volunteers, who meticulously sourced for the items and hand-stitched the lavender-infused rice bags.

We allowed families to each share a piece of good news that they would have wanted their loved ones to know, if they were still around. Many wanted their loved ones to know that they were coping well. Some shared that they have a new pet and one family member shared that they had acquired their driving licence.

During the breakout sessions, families were asked to open their care packs and to draw their “Memories in Bloom”. A daughter drew a red rose overlaying a heart and titled it “Rose from the heart”. She explained that her mum always told her that when roses are dried, it can bloom again in the sun. Thus when things are bad, they will become better, as long as she does it from the heart! Another drew an orchid and said that when her hubby was alive, he was the one taking care of their plants. She said that if she took care of the plants, “they sure die”. But she now wants to tell her late hubby that she can now take care of the plants and believes he is by her side helping her. “We need to continue with life, we will take care. I miss him!”

At the next segment, a grand-daughter shared her personal grief journey, from when her grandpa was diagnosed with cancer, till months after he passed on. It was a very difficult time for her, as it was initially a denial stage for her, disbelieving that grandpa was struck with a rare form of cancer, with no cure. As grandpa deteriorated, she was hurt and angry. One day, grandpa called her aside and asked “Can you let Grandpa go?” It was a dark and painful period for her, after grandpa passed on. She refused to talk to anyone, not even her family members and hid herself in the room. She did a lot of reading on grief and finally, her very good friends helped her overcome her grief. She shared this with everyone - “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” ~ Randy Pausch.

Our staff JiaSen, then shared his views as a Social Worker. He felt that by looking after our patients, he had learnt much and garnered many stories that shaped him to be who he is today. A dying mum felt that she was hindering her 24 year old daughter’s future, as she had put a hold on her career to care for mum. Mum was distressed and JiaSen brought mum and daughter together, to talk about this. The daughter said, “Mum, you are not hindering me. Do you not remember how you gave up your job when you were younger, just to look after me?”

We then shared photos of our patients, whose families attended the event, then showed the names of all the other patients who had passed on. We closed our eyes for a minute of silence in honour of all the patients we had served, in “A Walk Down Memory Lane; Moment of Remembrance”.

We concluded our event with our HCA choir, HCApella, performing a song for all our families.

I felt that we were able to bring some measure of comfort to the participants. There were many words of appreciation and the one that stood out for me was “Thank you HCA for the love and care you rendered. You are angels sent to us”.

Every journey begins with a first step. Today we all started with that single step in our journey of healing. Our love for our loved ones will be the hope that lights our path in moments of darkness and that love will continue to grow big and strong in our hearts and homes, just like a sunflower, so that it will become a source of light and hope for everyone around us.

All this would not have been possible without the hard work and compassionate love by our staff. They put in so much effort and countless hours, to make the event meaningful and so well appreciated by our families. Thank you team!

Finally, without our families allowing us into their homes and lives, we would not be where we are today. On behalf of all of us at HCA Hospice Care, I thank all, for the privilege to have cared for your loved ones.