Elder Care

Celebrate a Life

By John F. Tomczak

Every year since 1987 Victoria Hospice Society, a few weeks before Christmas provides a space in a mall where people may come to remember a loved one.  The space is decorated in the Christmas Spirit, volunteers are there to provide assistance and those that wish are encouraged to write a remembrance of a loved one and place it on the Hospice Logo. A book of remembrance is provided and of course the messages and words of remembrance are kept at Victoria Hospice. Some people will make donations in memory of a loved one but this event has never been seen as a fundraiser. As one can imagine the volunteers have experienced some wonderful, tender and heartfelt moments. I have chosen one of these moments that somehow is at the essence of what Celebrate a Life is all about. One evening in the Mayfair Mall two small children, accompanied by a woman, came to the table. The little girl was about six or seven and I guessed the little boy to be about four.  The children came closer but the woman stayed back a bit. The little girl gave me some money and I helped her put it in the donation box. I then asked her if she wished to write in the Remembrance Book. She looked back at her friend and was encouraged to write in the book. “Yes,” she said and very carefully printed out, I love you Mommy.  I then asked the little boy if he would like to write in the Remembrance Book. His sister said “But he can’t write.” I answered “Never mind just let him do pretend writing.” The little boy eagerly took up the pen and made those squiggling marks that are so meaningful to a young child and so precious to us grandparents.  He put down the pen and proudly said, “I wrote I miss you Mommy.” While I sat there in silent wonder at the wisdom and dignity of small children, the little girl leaned closer to me and whispered, “Our mother died at hospice.” 

Copyright John F. Tomczak. All rights reserved