A grilled cheese sandwich?! My hospice receives a volume of thank you cards on a weekly basis. A few months ago one card in particular menti...

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

cheese sandwich


A grilled cheese sandwich?! My hospice receives a volume of thank you cards on a weekly basis. A few months ago one card in particular mentioned how nice it was that we prepared a grilled cheese sandwich for her mom. After all the family went through, she would thank us for a grilled cheese sandwich? The fact that the woman who mailed the thank you card even mentioned it speaks volumes about the importance of food at the end of life.

I was giving a small group a tour of my hospice’s in-patient facility, the Pickering House, not too long ago. During that tour, I mentioned that in the steady stream of thank you cards the writer will often pick out a few people or kind gestures that impressed them. I told them about that particular card in which the daughter mentioned how our staff fixed her mom a grilled cheese sandwich. “One of my mom’s favorite things -SO NICE!!” she had written. What surprised one person in the group was the idea that we even have a kitchen in the building. Aren’t people residing in a hospice facility in the last days of their life?

Looking back, I don’t think the person I was talking to believed that the family of someone who was cared for by hospice would remember a gesture as insignificant as a grilled cheese sandwich. In this case I don’t know if the woman who received the sandwich could eat it or not; that detail is unimportant and at the same time of absolute importance. The kind gesture made her mom so happy. It touched the heart of her daughter to the point she felt the need to specifically mention it in her thank you card; and years later at that. She hadn’t mailed the card until several years after her mom was on her service.
 
After all of the apprehension, fear, sadness and tension that goes along with a parent enduring a chronic illness, the daughter remembered a simple, kind gesture. That sums up what hospice is about; understanding the importance of the little things. Every employee in my hospice is empowered to act upon the seemingly casual desires of those at the end of life.
 
A grilled cheese sandwich sounds relatively common. However, my hospice staff recognized its importance and responded. Hospice is here to enhance someone’s life. And in life it is simple acts of kindness during a time of stress that demonstrates the inherent good of life, to the very end.