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Nov. 25, 2009
I took Phillip to the Sharp Hospice volunteer office on Wednesday afternoon. I had thought about asking a friend who was planning to take her two bears out there for me, but decided this was one of those things I should do myself. I'm glad I did.
Not only did I get to meet the two wonderful employees who work in the volunteer office, but I also got to see what goes on there and understand more of the process. It was interesting and it was emotional. That seems to be how this thing works!
One of the women showed me how they finish off the Memory Bears with a nice bow around their necks, with a tag saying the bear was made for them by volunteers and the name of that person on the back of the tag. Then they put the bear in a crisp white bag lined with blue tissue paper. It looks so nice when it's all put together.
Then they contact the family to let them know their Memory Bear is ready. I was told the family usually comes in to pick up their bear(s) and that it's often a very emotional experience. Sometimes the bears are mailed to the families and sometimes the nurse who helped take care of the loved one who passed delivers the bear to the family. Thinking of that and how it would play out brought me to tears.
Phillip Bear was met with compliments by both women and they said he would be ready for his family soon. I felt good about leaving him in their hands, knowing that in a short time he would be bringing comfort to someone who loved the man who wore the shirt that was now his body.
I did leave with a new bag and the garment waiting to be a new bear, but that's the beginning of a new story. Follow more of Laurie's Memory Bear journey.
For More Information
Sharp HospiceCare offers a training session for prospective volunteers. To learn more, please call the Sharp HospiceCare Volunteer Services Department at 619-667-1900.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about hospice care, read the Home Care and Hospice News archive.