One September afternoon, I received a phone call from one of our nurses, letting me know that a particular
patient had died. Working in palliative care, this is not an unusual call, but for some reason, this one seemed different. I felt an urgency in the nurse’s voice, something that made me run up three stair flights to the unit. Upon arrival, I saw the hearts of our staff members broken – some were crying, some were wiping away tears, some were consoling others.
As I walked into the room, I suddenly knew why there was urgency in that call. There, sitting by his mother’s bed, was a 12-year-old boy. He sat staring at his mother, hardly blinking and hardly moving. I sat next to him and consoled him the best I could. I hugged him, talked with him, asked questions and we sat in silence. I didn’t know how to help. I didn’t know how I could console this young boy. My heart broke and my eyes filled with tears. I felt helpless.
When I left the room, his aunt approached to say she would take him in, however she wasn’t prepared. She had no supplies. I immediately spoke with our Palliative Care team and we agreed that we needed to do something. We recognized that we couldn’t do this alone, so we reached out to fellow Providence staff via
email, explaining the situation and asking for any donations of clothing, furniture, school supplies, etc.
Within minutes, we received two dozen emails from staff and volunteers across the organization letting us know they would bring things the next day. By the end of the week, we had collected clothes, shoes, money, gift cards, books, paper, pens, pencils, backpacks and even a few suits for this boy to wear to his mother’s funeral.
When I informed the family of the generous donations, they were stunned. They did not expect the overwhelming generosity coming from our Providence Family. It’s because of moments like these that I am so thankful to work at an incredible organization where people truly live our Values every day. Thank you to everyone at Providence who reached out. I know this made a huge difference in that boy’s life.
About the Writer: Tracy Stober is a Social Worker for Providence’s Palliative Care Program.