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Blog: Stories and Insight

Peacock’s Presence Brings Comfort & Peace

A peacock symbolizes compassion, supportiveness, and serves as protector of peace – three important qualities when your loved one is receiving hospice care.

So when a peacock unexpectedly showed up at The Samaritan Center at Voorhees, patients, family members, and staff took notice.

“We fondly called her Becky,” said Registered Nurse Gerry Shuler. “During Becky’s weekend visit, family members continually talked about her. Some found comfort, some beauty, and some reassurance that there is goodness and light in the world at a time when they need this reassurance the most.”

Becky, the peacock, at The Samaritan Center at Voorhees.

By Sunday afternoon, Becky moved on to the next leg of her journey leaving behind The Samaritan Center and its guests, but not before also leaving a mark on the life of The Kumar Family*. The family was “overjoyed at the auspicious timing of the peacock’s presence,” said Gerry.

The Kumars are Hindu and peacocks have significant spiritual meaning in the Hindu faith. Considered a bird of protection and a bringer of harmony in Hindu mythology, the peacock is the most sacred bird. In images of it as a mythical bird, it is shown killing a snake, which according to a number of Hindu teachings, is a symbol of the cycle of time.

Of course, The Kumars instantly recognized the significance of this visitor’s arrival – and departure. The peacock couldn’t be found anywhere on The Center’s property shortly after The Kumars’ loved one died peacefully surrounded by family. They were genuinely grateful for her appearance and understood the impact of her departure.

“We’re approaching the inpatient center’s fifth anniversary and in the five years we’ve never had a peacock visitor,” said Inpatient Manager Donna Fahey. “Her visit certainly uplifted our spirits,  and – most importantly – brought comfort and peace to our families.”

*Name changed for privacy.