At Advanced Home Health and Hospice, in our clinical staff weekly meeting we have a ritual that allows us to remember, memorialize, and grieve the passing of those we have cared for. We take small rocks, of various sizes and shapes and colors, and write the name/ nickname of our patient who has been birthed into eternity in the previous week. We say his or her name out loud and pass the rock to the person next to me and as the rock passes around the table we each hold it in hand and if we have a particular memory we share it.
There are many “ahhhhh” moments as we remember those we were privileged to accompany on the last part of their journey home. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there’s laughter, but there is always reverence.
For the staff it allows us to let go of the sadness we feel and as we each touch the rock we silently note our connection to each person who has died and each other as a clinical care team and as we look upon the vases filled with named rocks we humbly acknowledge the gift of hospice service in which we are honored to participate.