Thursday, 20 December 2018

Kindness of strangers

Wednesday was Hospice day, my day for trying out new crafts, checking in with the staff and volunteers, chatting to other visitors and getting a complementary therapy treatment  - in my case a wonderfully relaxing reflexology session. All this thanks to the generous donations of so many companies and individuals across the county and supported in a small way by our marvellous NHS. This week the hospice is being filmed for a slot on Midlands Today local news - going out on Friday evening at 18.30 if you are in the area and want to know more about what goes on at a hospice like ours.

Yesterday's craft session was a bit different as we'd had some flowers donated to the team - some from florists I think but others were from funeral offerings - now they don't make a point of saying so for obvious reasons but I happened to be around one week when a rather recognisable vehicle pulled up and our Diversionary Therapist* said "ooh that's for me" - as you can imagine a mix of startled looks and gallows humour ensued!! It turns out that people sometimes donate the flowers after a funeral to stop them going to waste and rather than leave them in obvious arrangements and cause any distress for the users , our support team unpick them, salvage anything usable and then whoever happens to be using the hospice that week gets to make fresh arrangements and take them home to brighten their lives. It's such a simple thing to do but gives so much joy - a chance to chat about favourite flowers, to giggle at our hit and miss attempts to make symmetrical arrangements, to gaze in awe when one of our number reveals a hidden talent and turns out something show-bench worthy and to give something beautiful a second life.

So I came home with a posy of crimson skimmia, fern and tiny red-and-gold-coloured roses which have been added to the jug of greenery from my garden and another of white sweet-scented freesia, golden sunflower and orange gerberas that are currently giving a real pop of colour to the kitchen-table garden.

So my thanks as ever to the wonderful Shakespeare Hospice team and to the complete strangers who thought about giving us joy at a truly difficult and unbearably sad time in their lives.

*Diversionary Therapy - is the name given to the activities the team demonstrate, bring in and give us the opportunity to try. It can be anything from a craft, a jigsaw, a quiz, a performance by local musicians or school children. More often than not the materials used are donated by well-wishers or bought with the donations the Hospice relies on to continue. The idea is to help us find things to relax with, take our minds off treatment and just enjoy being in the moment when things get hard. Trust me it works!

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