I cried in the mall yesterday. Not sweet, cute, softly falling, feminine tears, but eye-reddening, heart wrenching sobs.
My sole reason for being at the overcrowded Governor’s Square Mall was to purchase my favorite moisturizer at Sephora and get out as quickly as possible. Of course the Great American Cookie Company caught my eye and I had to have an oatmeal raisin walnut cookie. None of which resulted in tears.
After devouring my cookie I noticed a beautifully decorated tree on the edge of the food court. White Art Deco inspired angels accompanied by simple white name tags hung from the branches of the enormous tree. Curious, I approached the evergreen and began reading names. A woman soon joined me and pointed to a tag.
“That’s my daughter,” she said. “She was so beautiful.”
I’m sure I looked confused. You see, I thought the tree was one that had names of underprivileged children for whom one could buy gifts for Christmas. Instead, it was a tree honoring those who’d been in hospice care in the Tallahassee area.
“Tell me about your daughter,” I said, when she pointed out the hospice sign at the base of the tree.
“She was only 30 when she lost her battle with breast cancer. Hospice was there for us.”
Then she broke down in tears. That’s when I started crying. A young woman, a hospice volunteer, came up and offered us tissues. We all hugged. I told them of my personal ties to hospice. Hospice was there as my father neared death, offering support and comfort in our time of grief, and a beloved sister-in-law is a hospice nurse.
Hospice provides much more than just end of life care for terminally ill patients. The strength, wisdom, and compassion of hospice personnel are like a balm to the soul for the entire family. Many hospice organizations rely on donations from the community to provide their services. So, if you are thinking of worthy causes to donate to during the holiday season, please consider your local hospice facility.