The Life Center in Portsmouth is filled with colorful Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Hospice quilts which are saturated with loving memories of individuals who have passed away as a result of cancer. The quilts will be display until Friday, Dec. 30.
Susan Goins, Bereavement Coordinator of SOMC Hospice program, said they have been working with families to construct the Hospice quilts since the early 80’s.
“We started our Hospice quilts in the early 80’s, and we’ve been making two to three quilts every year since then. We have approximately 41 quilts now, altogether,” Goins said. “What we do is, we send the families a letter that have had a love one to pass away from October 1st of the past year to September 30th of the current year, and that’s our year span. We ask them if they want to participate, and if they do, what color square would they like have for their loved one.”
Furtherance of the process encompasses volunteers who help revive the memories of the cancer patients who have passed on.
“We mail that color square to them, and we give them a list of places where they can take their square and have it done, and for them to send it back. Then, we have volunteers to put all of the squares together,” Goins said. “Some people do their own square, but we tell them to make that square a memorial for their loved one. Something that means something to them. Some people put pictures, others a favorite saying or if their loved one collected something like angels. Maybe their loved one was a school bus driver, they may put a school bus on there, just some symbol that identifies something specific about their loved one who has passed away.”
Anita Speck, an employee of the Life Center, has a square on two of the quilts for both of her parents who succumbed to cancer. Pointing to her mother’s and father’s square on two of the quilts, Speck said the memories are abundant.
“There are so many stories to tell from these quilts,” Speck said. “I did this one, and the grand kids called her Mamaw Rosie Pockets because of the song. So I made her a pocket. This is one of her gowns, she wore a gown around the house with a rose on it, and the six hearts are for the six of us kids. This is a picture of my dad who served in the military.”
Speck expressed her gratitude to SOMC Hospice, stating that the quilts keep memories alive.
“The quilts really help you in your grieving to explain the stories behind what you’ve done on the quilt,” Speck said. “It is just so helpful for just keeping your memories alive, and for the families. Hospice is awesome. I can’t say enough about them. They are always there for anything that the families need. Maybe I am being a little selfish, but I wish that they would leave the quilts up a little longer. I am just grateful that they do this.”
For more information regarding the Hospice quilts, call 740-356-2567.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.