Nothing and everything

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Lorna and baskets

Lorna Bishop, surrounded by baskets

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.

At least that’s the thought behind the bereavement baskets created by Cornelius resident Lorna Bishop and her friends.  Lorna is the ringleader of a wonderful group of women who get together a few times a year to create the baskets for Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman.  “It’s just something to let the families know that we’re thinking about them.  Something to show we care, ” Lorna explains. 

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.

The "before" shot -- assembling baskets

The “before” shot — assembling baskets


The "after" shot -- baskets filled and ready

The “after” shot — baskets filled and ready

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, end of life, grief, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, spiritual care, volunteering

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