– A Special Journey Mercies Entry –
Being a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 9, I have come to believe that I have a pretty good handle on caring for my family. Today my relationships with my children have become deeper and much more meaningful than they were while they were growing up. I also have the opportunity to mentor my grandchildren, and a few months ago, I moved my brother here from Oregon to manage his care. I have a lot of experience in caring : )
This year I celebrated 20 years with O’Connor and retirement from my full-time position. I loved being the Director of Community Relations and Resources but with retirement came a new opportunity to grow and give back and still work part-time for my beloved O’Connor in a brand new position. I am the very first Family Care Coordinator.
The goal of our Family Care Program is to provide care-touches to the families we serve when their services are over. I get to meet with our families face-to-face, hear their stories, connect them with grief and bereavement resources, and share some loving support and opportunities for healing. And, because we respect each family’s opinion, I also have the opportunity to ask for insights and thoughts about their ceremonies and our staff who provided support and care.
Each family that I meet has a story. One in particular touched me deeply. I had the honor of being with a woman about my age, and as I sat across from her, a newly grieving widow, I could see and feel her profound sense of sorrow. It came up out of the depth of her being and these words spilled forth, “I already miss him so much.” At that moment I felt a surge of compassion that I had not known before, and as I reached out and took her hand, these words flowed from my heart, “I know this is painful, and I am so sorry. Your journey of healing has just begun. Give yourself all the time you need to heal. I will be here for you and I am just a phone call away.” In that moment two women came together, and there was no need for any more words.
Her eyes softened as she thanked me, she took a deep breath and began to tell me about how her husband had died and about the passions he practiced in his life. A smile broke on her face and I felt privileged to listen. Her gratitude for the care and support she received was evident.
“The ceremony was perfect,” she said. “It was everything I had hoped for.”
Helping our families begin their journey of healing.
Being here as long as I have, I have had the joy and the honor to be placed in roles that have helped me grow as a woman, a mother, and a person who cares deeply for others. That would not have happened, I truly believe, in any other work environment.
Neither of my roles were something that I picked for myself. I was “chosen” by the incredible men who lead us each day to be better than we ever imagined. This new role has given me the opportunity to come along side our families and support and love them “after it’s over.” I want them to feel that we will not leave them “at the grave.” I want them to know that we can support them through the ages. That we will continue to be there when they need us the most.
The other day I had lunch with my daughter Kari. She is an Administration Specialist here at O’Connor and she asked me if I enjoyed my new role. Without hesitation I simply said, “I love it.” She paused and then she said, “Mom, how often is it that we get the opportunity to “love” our jobs? You have had two with O’Connor and you love them both. That doesn’t happen.” She’s right.
I know that this kind of opportunity does not happen all the time. I have been gifted with the responsibility to provide care and comfort to folks who, for a moment in time, become my family.
Family Care . . . It’s what I do best right now.