A Cherished Memory

Shared by resident Ann Gillis

This article may not fit the bill as a tradition. It’s more a tradition of recalling a memory. A memory of a Christmas Eve morning many years ago, and one that has remained with me and told to friends over the years during the Christmas season.

Many years ago, I had the privilege of volunteering for Hospice. I provided a respite for caregivers. On this special Christmas Eve morning, I received a phone call from Paula, our volunteer coordinator. Paula asked if I would be able to sit with a patient while her son went to do some last-minute food shopping. This was not on my to do list, but I reluctantly agreed
to her request, as Paula knew I would. This reluctant agreement, however, would reward me with an unexpected gift, a memory that would remain with me for years.

After getting the usual information, I arrived at my destination and was greeted at the door by a sad old dog and the patient’s son. I was directed to the back room and the son promptly left. The sad dog walked me to the back room, left me at the door and walked away. The thought occurred to me that the woman in the hospital bed was his mistress.

As I approached the bed, I saw a small figure covered with a light spread. As I approached, her eyes opened and when she saw me her arms shot out from under the spread and she cried out, “I knew you’d come. I knew you’d come.” We hugged! I pulled up a chair and for the next two hours we reminisced as two old friends would – Do you remember when we did this or that? We laughed and we cried over happy and sad times. I assumed that our friendship had been a long one, but we had lost touch over the years.

When I heard her son return, we hugged, again, and she looked into my eyes and repeated that she knew I’d come. She passed peacefully a few days later.

What I took away from this experience was the importance of keeping in touch – to follow that little voice that tells you to pick up the phone, email, anything to keep the ones we love in our lives. We may not be so fortunate as to have a Hospice volunteer fill in for that last visit.

This experience made that Christmas very special and will forever be – A Cherished Memory.