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A Little Piece of My Mom

The Foundation of CVPH intern's perspective of a new program submitted by Jess Rojas

My mother was five months pregnant, and like most expecting mothers, spent her free time reading baby name books. She was expecting her third child, a daughter. She had finally decided on the name Kassandra after her favorite childhood novella protagonist. We loved it.

My mother was experiencing a bit of discomfort one afternoon. She reassured me it was normal. My father insisted on taking her to the hospital just in case as soon as he came home from work. My father was a chef and would work the closing shifts. His arrival time home would always vary. I had kept my mother company that night while she waited up for him.

It was 2am and I was exhausted. My fourteen year old body was giving out but I didn’t want to sleep until I knew he was home and she was taken care of. I kept talking to her in hopes of keeping both of us awake. The moment my father came home, I was out like a light. He tells me she kissed me goodnight before they left but I was asleep by then. The next morning, my father came home in tears without her.

The thing about loved ones is that they can be there one minute and gone the next. The hardest part about the grieving process for me was not getting to say goodbye. I felt incomplete. I couldn’t accept the fact that she was gone. A couple months later, I found her favorite owl ring in my jewelry box. She had given it to me and I had stashed it away back then because I thought it was the most hideous thing I had ever seen. Now, I wear it every day.

Finding that ugly owl ring got me through those tough times. Knowing that at least a little part of your loved one will always be with you is comforting. Recently, a family at CVPH requested a handprint impression of their deceased loved one to take home with them as a memento. They had walked in with their loved one and were unfortunately, leaving empty handed. Staff searched the hospital until they found the materials necessary to fulfill the family’s request. The family was able to leave the hospital with this special memento.

Thanks to our foundation supporters, there will now be kits available for family members when a loved one passes. Keepsakes include an impression kit that holds a picture, handprint and a card to store a lock of the patient’s hair. Giving families a small memento to walk out of the hospital with has been proven to be helpful and healing. Just as my mom’s owl ring has helped me through these years, we hope these small mementos will help aid families through the grievance process.