Holiday Letter: With Love, from Baba Menka

December 2023

Your holiday season is often filled with memories of joy and laughter, especially those you have shared with family, friends, and loved ones. At Hospice, we have the honour of seeing memories shared, and new ones made, on a daily basis. As end-of-life approaches, our patients and their loved ones become ever more conscious of just how precious those memories are to each of them.

With this in mind, our team created The Legacy Project – a way to create special keepsakes and physical representations of memories. Hospice team members work with patients and their loved ones to design and customize these Legacy Projects, which become heartfelt memorials to the person, and mementos for their loved ones to treasure forever.

Patients and their loved ones spend precious moments together creating these pieces – which can be as small as a ceramic thumbprint heart, or as large as memory boxes – but the true impact of these creations is often not fully realized until after a loved one passes.

“For each legacy piece, we sit down with the patient and their loved ones, and design a project that not only reflects their own individual story, but also the patient’s abilities to participate,” says Hospice Social Worker, Taylor Wright. “We’ll help them make something that will become a treasured remembrance and will bring them comfort, and a feeling of connectedness.”

Recently a patient, Menka, was admitted. She had a large, and very close extended family. “We were devastated at the thought of losing our Baba Menka, she was part of my life and my memories from my very earliest childhood,” says her granddaughter Diane.

While our Baba was at Hospice, the team mentioned making a Legacy Project.” Diane and her three sisters came together to create small clay “thumbprint hearts” of Baba Menka, one for each family. Each clay heart is adorned with two of Menka’s thumbprints, shaped into a delicate heart, with the date and her name on the back.

“The thumbprint keepsakes brought us such comfort and warmth. The keepsake has not only preserved her memory but also symbolizes the beautiful legacy she leaves behind, a constant reminder of her love, wisdom, and the cherished moments we all shared with her.”

Creating such meaningful keepsakes for our family has left an indelible mark on our hearts, reminding us of the profound care and compassion that Hospice extends to families like ours,” says Diane. 

At first, that little ornament would bring tears to her eyes,” adds Diane’s husband, Lucas. “Now, it brings the sweetest smile when Diane sees it hanging in the cabinet. Even our boys, Alex (7) and Nick (5), know that’s Baba Menka’s ‘heart.’ The thumbprints will forever hold a special place in our family.”

The Legacy Project, along with all the other programs and services Hospice offers, are all part of our vision of delivering memorable care to our community. Your donation will directly support Hospice care – everything from the clinical care we provide, to the meals offered to patients and their loved ones, to the thumbprint hearts described in this story. Your donation is important, appreciated, and has direct impact.

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Every $150 donated supports one night of care in our Hospice. Please give generously.  

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