“Because when we share our stories, we are reminded of the humanity in each other. And when we take the time to understand each other’s stories, we become more forgiving, more empathetic, and more inclusive.”
~ Michelle Obama
A few months ago, Anne McCaffrey, Leader, Spiritual Care & Volunteer Services, and Yvonne Deis, Volunteer Resources Assistant, started the Mount St. Mary Hospital Resident Story Project. Together with some of our wonderful volunteers, the stories of 40 of our 200 residents are complete and many more are in the works.
The Resident Story Project involves interviewing the resident and also talking to their family. Family members are so happy to share stories and details about their loved ones. While each residents is different, they have all lived very full lives filled with interesting families, careers, friends, hobbies, and volunteering.
From nurses, teachers, and moms that took care of their homes and children to farmers, carpenters, and engineers, every resident has made incredible contributions to their community. They have participated in sports, prepared amazing meals, donated their time and money to various causes, embraced their faith, travelled, and lived all around the world. They have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren–by birth, adoption, or later marriages.
There have been many ups and many downs, but the residents have persevered. Each resident has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with all of us. By capturing their stories and displaying them with their memory boards filled with pictures, we are ensuring their life and lessons are not only shared with their family but also with all of our staff, other residents and their families and friends, and our volunteers.
Every day, Mount St. Mary Hospital staff provides exceptional care. However, through the Resident Story Project everyone enjoys much richer and fulfilling caregiving experiences-the resident, staff, volunteers, and family. Even the smallest piece of info opens up a whole new world of conversation and stories, and the sharing of a life well lived.
One family member commented when reading her mother’s completed story, “I am so happy about this, makes my heart come alive again.”
A resident who is 100 was thrilled with her story and said, “I know all this stuff about me now everyone else will know because you put it in writing.” Another resident said, “I have been wanting to write my story for years. Thanks for making it happen!”
Some nuggets of life advice that the residents would like to share:
“Keep a positive attitude and have a love of life. This allows for good things in your life.”
“Committed relationships are most important. They are worth the work they take.”
As Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” We are blessed by the opportunity to share these important stories. If you would like the story of your loved one written, please contact Anne or 250-480-3118.