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“Precious Gems 17″ – Remembering our Loved Ones
29 September 2017

Over 55 guests from 20 families gathered on a Saturday afternoon at our HCA Hospice Care’s Sunflower Remembrance Day. We had chosen the sunflower for our event, because its beautiful yellow petals resemble the sun. The sun is a symbol of warmth, strength and joy and thus the sunflower affirms the warmth and love that we have for our loved ones. We hope that it gives us the strength to journey onward in life, perhaps together as a community of caregivers.

The auditorium was filled with guests, staff and volunteers and at the back of the auditorium were 20 young girls elegantly dressed in beige tops with emerald green skirts, with a gold sash beautifully tied at the waist. Every girl wore polished black shoes and they looked very smart. The girls, primary three to five students from Raffles Girls Primary School specially came to sing for our families and caregivers, despite their exams being round the corner.

The atmosphere was a little somber, as each guest had lost someone dear to them, but many were glad to be reunited with our nurses and social workers, who had cared for their loved ones.

Immediately after the welcome address, we invited every family to come up to light a candle to remember their loved ones.  With gentle music playing in the background, we called out each patient’s name and a beautiful photo of the patient, some with their family members, was displayed. Each family was presented with a stalk of sunflower as well as a sunflower brooch, which was handmade by teachers from Anglo Chinese Primary School. A few wiped away tears as they lit the candles. It was a very touching moment for me. Coping with the loss of a loved one is never easy and sometimes, it helps to come together, to be the strength for each other and to listen to one another’s experiences.

After a moment of silence to honour our patients who have passed on, the Raffles Girls Primary School choir sang two beautiful songs for us. One of the songs particularly struck a chord with me. The words stirred my emotions quite a bit…. “Build me a world where there is less illness…we must have more hope, more faith and more love”. I chatted with the choir master later and he explained to me that this was a very meaningful event for the young girls. He further told me that when they get back to school on Monday, each girl will be asked to write their reflections on the event. He also readily offered the choir to sing for our families again at our next Sunflower Remembrance Day. He was as moved by the event as we were.

At the end of the event, as I went around, every guest I met was grateful and thankful for our work and support. Yes, it was difficult for some. But I encouraged the families and caregivers to remember and to speak fondly of their loved ones, to remember both the joyous and challenging moments. We must remember their warmth and garner strength from the wonderful memories. We will continue to remember our love for them, then and now and for many tomorrows to come

I am glad that the HCA team has gone the extra mile to help our families and caregivers cope that little more, with their grief and bereavement. Many departments came together as one to do so. I am so proud of every staff that showed up to provide the support and care that goes such a long way!