Photos for her children: the wish of a young mother in hospice
Posted by Ann Portmann, RN Case Manager
On a recent Tuesday morning, Noreen, a JourneyCare volunteer at Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter, was sitting with a newly admitted hospice patient named Stephanie, to keep her company. Stephanie was a young mother in hospice care with four small children.
Stephanie expressed acceptance that she was very near the end of her life and shared her sadness that her children would forget what she looked like.
Stephanie told Noreen she had written cards and notes for her children, but she wished she could have professional photos taken so her children would have nice pictures to remember her.
Noreen shared this information with Robin, a social worker at the CareCenter, and asked about having Stephanie’s hair and make-up done. Robin set out to make Stephanie's wish a reality. After many phone calls and emails, a plan was put in place.
On Wednesday afternoon, Patty, a JourneyCare Admission Nurse and Team Care Coordinator, came to the Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter on her day off to do Stephanie's hair and make-up. Michael, a JourneyCare volunteer and photographer, drove from Chicago to the CareCenter in Barrington to take the pictures.
The JourneyCare Foundation provided financial support for items requested for the photo shoot, and the CareCenter team members worked together to make sure Stephanie’s physical and emotional needs were supported throughout the day.
Stephanie greatly enjoyed the special treatment and the opportunity to provide lasting memories for her young children in the pictures. She had lots of smiles and a few tears while being pampered and made up. Stephanie’s father was able to be present for part of the photo shoot and took some of his own pictures.
On Friday, Stephanie’s parents visited and brought her 1-year-old twins with them. With their joyful laughs and giggles, the twins brought much delight to Stephanie, and also to the CareCenter hospice team members. A few pictures from the photographer were printed out and shared with Stephanie and her parents.
On Saturday afternoon, Stephanie died peacefully, with her mother and sister holding her hands.
It was our privilege to care for Stephanie. We send our deepest condolences to her loved ones.
Thanks to her loving family and many JourneyCare hospice team members and dedicated volunteers, Stephanie’s dream of providing beautiful pictures for her children was fulfilled.