Gift of hope helps grieving families
From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2010
Dealing with a death is difficult, even when it is expected. To help cope with the death of a loved one at St. Cloud Hospital, staff gives a Gift of Hope box to the family.
“Our hope is that the items in each box will help the family work through the grief process,” said Brenda Hommerding, RN, Oncology Certified Nurse and charge nurse on the Medical Oncology Unit.
Each box includes donated handmade bookmarks, an inspirational poem, the booklet “My Friend, I Care,” a journal and pen, a sympathy letter written in six different languages given on behalf of St. Cloud Hospital and a sympathy card that is signed by all of the staff who cared for the patient.
A Gift of Hope box
The card provides closure for the family as well as the staff who became close to the patient and family. Since 2005, when the Gift of Hope project began, nearly 600 boxes have been given to families each year. “Patients are more than just a number. They have a heart, a face, a soul and we recognize that,” said Karen Neis, RNC, administrative nursing supervisor at St. Cloud Hospital and co-chair of the Gift of Hope box committee.
Gift of Hope boxes are funded solely through donations and charitable contributions by groups and individuals.
If you would like to donate to the Grief Box Fund, contact CentraCare Health Foundation.
The face of grief looks different for everyone. In “My Friend, I Care,” author Barbara Karnes offers some advice:
- Don’t remove or throw away belongings for at least several months -- wait until you are thinking more clearly.
- Don’t wash all the worn clothing right away. Enjoy the lingering smell of your loved one.
- Don’t be surprised if you see or hear the person who died. This phenomenon is normal.
- Don’t sell the house, move or make major decisions for at least a year.
- Do consider your options, plan and seek advice.
- Don’t be afraid to say negative things about the person who is gone, but remember that no one is perfect.
- Don’t hesitate to say, “I’m having a sad day.”
- Do reach out to your friends and family for support.
- Don’t stop loving and living.
- Do the best you can to find the good in each day.