Nothing and everything
by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager
When you lose a loved one, the last thing you need is a travel-sized bottle of shampoo. But you’d be surprised at how much it helps.
When Lorna hears from Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman (HPCLN) that they are running low on baskets, she puts out the call to around 20 women and then rounds up who’s available. After that, she goes to Habitat for Humanity, where they supply baskets to her free of charge. Then the shopping begins. Notecards, playing cards, lotions, pencils, pens, Kleenex, coffee, tea, and yes — sometimes mini bottles of shampoo — are purchased to pack each basket. Because filling baskets is easy. Filling the emptiness that comes with losing someone cherished — that’s nearly impossible.
So that’s why Lorna and her friends volunteer their time this way. They’ve all experienced loss. They know that the first week after a death is undeniably difficult; extreme emotions competing with deep sadness make for exhausting days. And who knows? Maybe getting a basket full of little surprises from the HPCLN social worker will ease the pain just a tiny bit. And if that’s the case, they’ve done their job.
Besides, as Lorna tells it, “It’s a good reason for us to get together and it supports a great cause.” For each “session”, they gather at her house, (her dining room table, actually), and create around 35 baskets in a day-long whirl of goodies, tissue paper, ribbon, and cellophane. And their wrapping skills are impressive. The baskets look like something you’d see in the pages of Southern Living Magazine. And they don’t just cater to us adults either. Just recently, the group put together some kid-oriented baskets filled with paper, markers, crayons, stickers, and other odds and ends for children who are struggling with the loss of a loved one.
So when the families unwrap these beautiful baskets, there’s nothing in there that they really need. But at the same time, it’s everything they need. A demonstration of love and support. And the knowledge that they are not alone.
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