Author Melodie Beattie writes, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”
As we enter a new year, I am grateful for many things including my family. I appreciate the non-material riches they bring to my life – joy, laughter, and memories that I will carry with me forever.
I am also grateful to be a witness to the natural cycle of life through my personal life and my profession. Gathering to welcome new life into a family, shedding tears of joy as young lovers wed, joining their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” wishes to the aging, and celebrating the life of a loved one with limited time on earth.
As the President and CEO of Samaritan, I can’t begin to tell you how honored and privileged I am to be part of a team that provides cares for those who are aging or seriously ill. The work we do is so fulfilling. Families open their homes to us and share moments like these:
One of our volunteers, who lost a cherished daughter-in-law, told how her family – amidst their sorrow – spent several beautiful evenings having “old-fashioned sleep-overs.” While together, they laughed, reminisced and celebrated her life.
A patient’s daughter wrote of her family gathering around her mom. She said, “Laughter and memorable stories enveloped the room. Through tears, we sang, danced, watched her favorite movies…and paid tribute to her every way we could think of. This time could not have been more perfect. We will cherish this week and everything else that made our lives rich with Mom.”
While Samaritan witnesses these life-enriching gatherings 365 days a year, we are especially mindful of the importance of supporting families facing the end of a cherished life. As you gather to celebrate the new year, take time to create memories that form stories that will enrich your family’s legacy for generations to come.
Take time to open dialogues, listen and record what each person’s wishes are now and in the future when health issues might prevent them from speaking for themselves. Our hospice provides easy-to-understand advance directive booklets. These guides assist families to raise delicate subjects and provide comforting roadmaps when the time to make difficult decisions arrives.
Take time to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed in caring for a loved one or grieving a recent or past loss. Samaritan and many other social service agencies in our community stand ready to help during each important phase in your family’s life cycle.
By focusing on what’s important and experiencing each gathering in the great fullness of life, my wish is that each of us will enjoy the most meaningful season of our lives!