Making a Memory
A few years ago I was with a dying patient and her family. The patient’s family was talking with me about the grandchildren and how because of their age they probably won’t remember their grandmother and being present during her final days. I suggested taking pictures of the children’s hands on their grandmother’s hand. The picture would just show the hands as the family didn’t want a picture of the hospital bed. Then when they are older, the children can have a copy of the picture to keep and know they were there and some may remember their grandmother. It’s also important that the family continues to share stories and photographs with the children of their grandmother.
I had another family that took it to another level. The family bought finger paint and 6 boards for framing. I helped and we put the hospice patient’s handprint in the middle of the board alongside his wife’s and then their 5 adult children circling their parents’ handprints and the grandchildren in the outer circle of handprints. The patient’s wife and their 5 children then had a memory/keepsake of the family’s handprints to hang in their home. The handprints continue to provide opportunities to share stories about the grandfather to the children. Also, the children point to the handprints and share their own stories about their grandfather and the day they made the handprints.
These are just a couple of ways to provide memories/keepsakes for children who are going to be too young to remember their loved ones.
Most recently, I took a picture with a hospice patient’s wife phone of their two hands on the husband’s death bed. The wife stated she had held and touched his hand so many times and didn’t want to forget it. So I suggested the picture and she was so appreciative.