Heart Pillow Project - a tag is placed on each pillow, this is what the tag says:
In its pocket, you, your family or friends can
tuck inside messages of caring,
or compose expressions of love.
Whenever you want,
give your pillow a vicarious squeeze
or a gentle hug.
May it lift your spirits,
provide you comfort and solace….
and remind you that others care.
Loved ones will be invited to
take it as remembrance
~ It is our gift
to you all ~
Sharon initiated the project of sewing and assembling lovely heart shaped pillows for our Hospice patients in 2011. She spent approximately 50 hours sewing and assembling the pillows that year and has since continued her promise to not only commit to it again in 2012, but through her inspiration recently assembled a crew of sewers to join her in creating even more pillows. Sparked by the story I told of one Mothers remembrance gift she left for her daughter before she died, activated their goal to assure even more patients receive this gift of caring in the year to come.
Megan (name has been changed) was 7 when her Mother was diagnosed with inoperable breast cancer that eventually moved throughout her body and took her life two years later. When Megan’s mother came into our Hospice, weeks before her death, she was given one of Sharon’s pillows. She decided to use it to fill it full of messages of Love and special memories that she would eventually give to Megan. As a secret project, she spent many hours filling the pocket Sharon sews into her pillows, with written messages, some small pieces of artwork she created when she felt well enough and some personal items she wanted to leave her. Megan’s Mom gave her the pillow in her last days; it was a touching, life changing moment for Megan. Since her Mom’s death, Megan continues to drop by to visit us. “She feels safe here”, says her Dad; “remarkably it holds good memories of her Mother’s death”. We can’t help but know the caring and compassion that comes from the staff and volunteers at our Hospice House, affects how Megan feels today, but we also we know the pillow is significant for her now, and will continue to be in the years to come. Megan recently told me, “I love my pillow, I think of my Mom every time I look at it. I hug it every night before I go to sleep”.
The pillows have been a wonderful gift and comfort to the patients and families who have received them. They are a caring ‘welcome gift’ when a patient arrives. I have seen family members use them to leave messages in the pocket when their loved one is sleeping and I see patients holding and hugging them. Family members take them home after their loved one dies; comforted knowing it was one of the items that was with their loved one in their last days. Sharon and her sewing team’s comforting gifts of remembrance have positively affected the quality of death for patients at our Hospice House, for which we are very grateful.