We’re here creating memories that will last a lifetime
Cecilia Davis, Creative Facilitator, often helps patients on our Ward create memory boxes as they approach end of life.
“Memory boxes are made by the patient for a relative, friend, or sometimes their whole family. They contain reminders, favourite things, emotional connections which help them feel close to their loved one after they have died.
“I help them think through all the elements they could include. Photos, favourite poems, scent, pressed flowers, tickets to events or holidays. People often include letters and cards with family recipes, birthdays, personal notes and advice for the future.
“It can be difficult to get hold of these items and when that happens I try my best to recreate them. Making an airline ticket, or recreating a memory of playing rounders on a beach.
“It’s quite a responsibility, particularly when a patient is very ill. I have to include everything they want, everything they say and in the way they say it. Otherwise I’d be changing their personality, and the box wouldn’t be a genuine reflection of them.
“We sometimes support children to get involved and include items too. I remember a girl that chose a pair of her grandad’s socks. He used to take them off and throw them at her! It was one of her enduring memories of him.
“It has to be the right time to have conversations with a patient about curating a memory box. The last thing we want to do is make their journey more difficult. But for many people it’s part of preparing by bringing comfort to their loved ones, and that can give them peace of mind.”