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The holidays - A perfect time for reminiscing

By Kathy Melamed
Clinical Communication Director

So, here come the winter holidays! The weather in Arizona is perfect. The tasks are multitudinous. The preparation is fun and festive and busy, sometimes demanding and even in the best of times, occasionally overwhelming. For those caring for a seriously ill loved one, the holiday season is likely a complicated time of mixed emotions and competing obligations.  

As a child, the best part of the holidays is the anticipation, the tradition, and for some, the gifts—“I can’t wait…how many more days?...”  Later, reminiscence is more and more a focus. “Remember that time we … I loved it when … my favorite time was … ”

In this season, preserving memories might be a meaningful way to celebrate.  A recorded interview with your loved one recalling early events in his/her lifetime … a videotaped session reviewing a photo album (or a box of pictures you never got around to organizing) … a written description of objects in your home—where they came from, when you got them, what they mean to you … shared stories of favorite holidays. Family members and friends may help.

Reminiscing can be informative, affirming, and therapeutic for the listener and the talker.  The preserving of memories can be as simple or complex as you choose.  I recommend a book I just re-read: Keeping Family Stories Alive—Discovering & Recording the Stories &Reflections of a Lifetime by Vera Rosenbluth. There are many other print and internet resources available. 

Oh, the memories … they are lovely or sad or bittersweet. They are the vehicle for continuity from season to season, year to year.  When all is said and done, that continuity creates hope—ultimately the reason for this season. 

He is the happiest man who can trace an unbroken connection between the end of his life and the beginning.  –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Through the hustle and bustle of this month, I wish you moments of joy and the opportunity to remember together with those you love.

Charlotte Craven

Hello there. My Mother was under Hospice care before she passed away 2 yrs ago (Mattie Dolores Carpenter). I was wondering what kinds of positions you have for volunteers? I could chat, run errands, read, polish nails, just about anything. I have a heart for giving and would love to see if this was something I could help with.
Thank you so very much!

Kathy Melamed
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: September 06, 2012
Volunteering at HOV

Charlotte - We're so glad to hear from you. Like you, many people who have had personal experience with Hospice of the Valley are interested in volunteering as a way to give back to the agency.  I think you’ll find it rewarding work. For information about our volunteer program and to submit an application, go to the Volunteer section of our website which you can find in the top menu bar.

Take care,

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