When Kim and her son, Hunter, had to say goodbye to a very special family member, we were by their sides with comfort and support. The following thank you letter from Kim (shared with permission) conveys the significant impact Fairview Ridges Hospital’s Memory Makers program made at a time they needed it most. Supported by the Fairview Foundation, Memory Makers guides children and families through the loss of a loved one by providing end-of-life memory making activities.
My mom passed away on Sep. 23, 2015. She had been sick on and off for about six years, and had been in and out of hospitals, rehab facilities and nursing homes.
We have always used Fairview Ridges for our medical care. The last time we came to Ridges, my mom was admitted to the intensive care unit. She was in the ICU for several days and put up a great fight, but her body was just giving out. It was time for our family to say goodbye.
I have a son, Hunter, who was 9 at the time. The day we decided to take my mom off of the medicine that was keeping her heart pumping, I went to get my son from school so he could also say goodbye to his grandma. They were extremely close.
The nurse came in the room and asked if I wanted someone to talk to my son regarding what was going on and I immediately said yes. My mom is the first loved one my son has ever lost. He knew grandma was sick for a long time, and I had talked to him often about her going to heaven, but I did not know if he really understood it.
Amy Feeder, a certified child life specialist, entered the room to talk with Hunter. She was so kind and sweet to him. She sat down on the floor next to him and gently talked about the dying process in a way he could understand. She gave him a book called “I Miss You – A First Look at Death.” She also gave me some materials to help talk with Hunter about death.
Amy asked if we wanted to make some items to remember his grandma, and we agreed. First she made clay and paint handprints of Hunter, his grandfather and his grandmother, which we were able to take home with us. She also took an impression of my mom’s fingerprint to make a charm for us to hold onto.
I can’t thank Fairview enough for providing such a meaningful service during a difficult time. It meant so much to all of my family. What the Memory Makers program did for us on that sad day was amazing.
We have the handprints on display in our china cabinet. The charm resides in my jewelry box. I look at all of these items often. They are such a beautiful reminder of my mom and the wonderful experience we had making them on her final day.
Thank you so much for allowing my family to be part of such a wonderful program.