My husband was in hospice care for the last 6 days of his life. After he passed away, a counselor visited with me once a month for an entire year. What a blessing that was. In that time, she asked me if I would be interested in a "memory bear or memory pillow," something a volunteer would make from a blanket or special article of clothing that my husband wore. Of course, I agreed.

I received the bear and was blown away. It truly was just what I needed to help me on my healing journey. I could never have imagined what that would have done to change my life. I asked the counselor what I could do to be part of this program. She explained to me that one year after my husband’s passing I could volunteer.

When I was able to join the program, I jumped in with both feet. Today, seven-plus years later I am still going strong. I photograph and log each item that I create. It is fun and a little humbling to be able to look back and see how different and unique each piece is, and to wonder how it may have touched someone’s life. To date I have had the honor and pleasure of creating 110 of these keepsakes. Who knew that something so simple could make such a difference in another person’s life? It did mine, and now I am able to make that difference in someone else's life in return.

This volunteer program has been a godsend and I feel so blessed to be a tiny part of it. I will never be able to thank those volunteers who took the time to help me at one of the darkest times of my life. Now to be part of that same fellowship reminds me how fragile life is. We have only a relatively short time on this earth and we need to make the best of everyday we are given.

By Annette Hoskins, volunteer, Blessing Hospice

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” 
Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader of India