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Only 9 years old, but doing their bit to alleviate the sorrow of others.
03 June 2015

Only 9 years old, but doing their bit to alleviate the sorrow of others.

Every four months, HCA holds Sunflower Remembrance Day, when caregivers, staff, and volunteers gather to celebrate the lives of our patients who had passed on six months ago.

Sunflower Remembrance Day is a poignant event, tinged with bittersweet memories and pain. During this event, our patients’ loved ones are brought gently through song and sharing, side by side with their primary nurses or social workers who had walked the journey with them.

However, smiles never fail to surface on our caregivers’ faces as they receive a pot and sunflower from a group of very special children, solemnly queued up by the side of the hall.

These children are Primary 3 students from North Vista Primary School. For the past few years, these students have been taking turns to add a touch of sunshine to the event.

The sunflower is an important symbol to the memorial event, as the tiny petals of the flower reflect all the help and the sunlight that surrounds each family, and patient – the support they can draw on at any time.

The students set to work planting these sunflowers before the event. By the time the event rolled around, little seedlings begin to poke through the soil – a sign of new life and hope. Each caregiver is given a pot of these seedlings, handed personally to them by these students.

9-year-old Nathan said, “The event is for people to remember those who have passed away. We gave them the sunflowers because we want to give them hope.”

“When I passed them the pot, they smiled at me, so I know they liked it,” Mabel added.

Many are unwilling to bring the topic of death up with young children like these. However, studies have shown that helping children understand at a young age might actually help them to cope with the issue.

HCA Hospice Care’s Young Caregivers Programme reaches not just to secondary and tertiary students, but also to young students like these to help them understand why it’s important to care for those around them while they still have the opportunity to do so. The North Vista Primary School students attended this one-hour workshop prior to their volunteering.

“We like to instill a sense of empathy and compassion in our students and we believe in starting them young,” share Mr Lawrence Lim, a teacher with the school. “This visit helps to sensitize them.”

“I learned I must treasure my family more and spend time with them. I sleep with my grandmother in the same room,” said Jingle. “She loves me very much. When her blanket falls off, I cover her again because that is what she always does to me.”

Despite the sadness of our caregivers and their families, we hope that these children were able to remind them of the future and all the joy it could hold.

HCA would like to thank the teachers and students of North Vista Primary School for their support during this event, and for bringing a smile to our caregivers’ faces.

Interested in registering your class or school in the Young Caregivers Programme? Drop us an email at ycg@hcahospicecare.org.sg. Alternatively, if you’d like to make a difference to the lives of others like these little students, sign up as a volunteer here