A wife and mother of teenage children was admitted to our unit and had recently been diagnosed, very unexpectedly, with terminal breast cancer. We were all devastated for her and her family as we all watched her decline rapidly. While she was strongly supported by family and friends in her dying days, we all felt that we wanted to do more for her and her family. We wanted to comfort them and to preserve the beautiful memory of their wife, daughter, mother, niece, and friend. Lisa Collinsgru was the nurse caring for the patient that day.
Lisa was reminded that there was a Palliative Care memory-making box that had been created on the MSICU. Lisa went to the unit and looked through the box and decided to approach the family to see if they would be interested in making memories.The items that the family chose were the fingerprint memory stones, the fingerprint bookmarks and the handprint on beautiful card stock. The patient’s mother made one for her grandson on a football stone as he was a football player at the local high school and loved the game. In fact, the night previously, the Friday night game had been dedicated to his mother who was dying in the hospital. Lisa took the time to assist the family in making their memories and supported them emotionally while they created the beautiful memories of their loved one. The unit banded together like a well-oiled machine to help support Lisa and make this possible. The unit also supported Lisa emotionally during this difficult time. Shortly after the memory making project, the patient passed. The family was grief-stricken, but so incredibly touched and thankful for all that Lisa had done for them. She hugged them, she cried with them and she laughed with them. She truly made such a difficult time more special for the family and made memories that will be cherished forever.