As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, JourneyCare’s Veteran Volunteer Advisory Council and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration invite Vietnam Era Veterans to join us for a special ceremony in recognition of their service and sacrifice for our nation on October 6. The event will feature a special keynote address from Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch.
My name is James “Jim” Claydon and I am a Vietnam Navy Seabee veteran. I served in Danang, Phu-Bai and Hue from 1967-1968, and was a Steelworker in support of the Third Marine Engineering Battalion.
Like many people these days, my mom has gone nuts for genealogy. Not only did she buy Ancestry.com kits in bulk for all of us at Christmas, but she spends a couple of days every week at a genealogy resource center in Cleveland where a lovely lady helps her search the vast databases the Mormon church has made available free to everyone.
Mom loves the detective work and when she discovers a name she’s been following in a census or on a birth certificate or in an obituary, she’s thrilled. But, it’s frustrating for her, too, because she realizes that all she knows in the end about these long-departed relatives are their names, dates of birth and death, and if she’s lucky, an occupation or some other tantalizing detail. She can’t help but wonder: What was their story?
Our loved ones never leave us. We remember them in memories, through things left behind, and sometimes, through acts made in the final moments. Recently, a patient’s daughter-in-law made a lasting request that overwhelmed us with love and gratitude.
I received an art therapy referral for Brittany, a 19-year-old on our pediatric hospice services living with a rare cancer that affects her connective and soft tissue. Ironically, the referral specifically stated she is not interested in making any art, but loves makeup.
The word “art” can be off-putting to a lot of people and can even prevent them from accepting art therapy services, so I was looking forward to working with someone with such a unique request. I reached out to Brittany’s mother to schedule a visit. Her mother reiterated early in our conversation that Brittany did not want to make any art, only makeup. I explained how I would respect Brittany’s wishes, that makeup is a creative outlet and our ultimate goal together is to use this creative expression to help support Brittany.
It's Health Unit Coordinators Week (August 23-29) and JourneyCare recognizes the importance of our Team Care Coordinators, who help keep our CareCenters running smoothly for our staff, patients and families. Thank you to all our TCCs! We appreciate the hard work and compassionate care you provide every day of the year!
I love working as a Team Care Coordinator for JourneyCare at The Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter. It amazes me the negative stigma that hospice has with the public. I am always confronted when I tell someone where I work, “Oh, I could never do that.” As for me, I could not imagine doing anything else.
Moments matter. This phrase has been on my mind as I reflect lately on my work as a music therapist and as a hospice worker. From a simple smile and “good morning” to the woman sitting alone in her chair, to an entire team coming together to surprise a patient with a birthday party, I’ve seen how much this rings true.
“Do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa of Calcutta
That simple quote from Mother Teresa popped into my head as soon as the barista at the little coffee shop I like in Evanston handed me the cup of cappuccino. Using nothing but swirls of perfectly foamed milk, I saw he’d painted a panda bear on the surface of my drink. When I exclaimed with delight and he smiled back at me, we shared a moment of joy.
The loss of a loved one turns your world upside down and, for a teenager, this loss can be especially bewildering. In my role as a bereavement counselor, I talk with teens that often feel like there is no way out, like the light of their lives has been diminished and they can become immersed in the stress of their own feelings. It is overwhelming for anyone, but especially for a teen finding their place in the world.
Our clinical team cared for a wonderful hospice patient in McHenry County who lived in a little wooden cabin house, directly on the lakefront. Every person on our team said it was a dream house, directly on the water with a sandy beach and a fire pit right outside the front door.
The only thing was, Gabe was dying and alone inside this home. He no longer could even walk down the steep lawn to the lake anymore, not without assistance.
What do volunteers mean to JourneyCare? They are more than people who express a willingness to help or undertake a service. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.
With over 1,200 volunteers, JourneyCare's Volunteer Team provides extensive support and care to our patients, their loved ones, and staff. JourneyCare offers volunteers the opportunity to share their unique knowledge, experiences, and gifts to make a difference in the lives of those we care for.