A great seamstress – stories from Palliative Care Volunteers in NSW

  • by Maria Lopez
  • May 23, 2017

During National Palliative Care Week 2017 we are sharing stories from palliative care volunteers in NSW, collated by editor and palliative care biographer Ros Bradley over the last couple of months.

Ros asked volunteers if they would share an inspirational moment, a story of resilience, a transforming experience, a special poem, text, image or piece of music.

Along the way she spoke to some 60 of the 1,600 or so palliative care volunteers around the state, with 21 of them sending her contributions that gave us unique insights into their experiences, inspirations and inner life as volunteers.

Here is one of the stories. Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed.

A great seamstress (by Maria)

I had been asked to sit with a patient who was in the throes of delirium.  This poor lady was determined to get out of bed and go home but was actually very frail and exhausting herself.  It was obvious in the times when she lay back down that she was not living in the same world as the rest of us and was communicating with people we could not see.

Her confusion was distressing to watch but it was when she started making sewing movements with her hands, bunching and smoothing the blankets and pulling invisible threads through the air that I realised she, like my Mum was a great seamstress and in her mind’s eye she was sewing.  My Mum had made the same movements in her last days and the only comfort was to reassure her that everything was going well and as she became agitated to advise her to lay back and rest her eyes so she could see to sew properly again.

After an hour and a half I had to leave and when I said goodbye this beautiful lady sat up again but it was so she could kiss me goodbye and I kissed her cheek.  I knew it wasn’t really me she was seeing but some loved one of her own.  My tears finally came In the car on the way home then suddenly I felt that my Mum had sent me that kiss as once in her agitation she had refused to kiss me goodbye and I was so grateful for that experience, fanciful though it may be.

Pic: Maria

Upcoming Events

NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – September meeting
  • SEPTEMBER 12, 2024
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – September meeting

The role of the Network is to ensure best practice for NSW Managers of Pall...

Read more
2024 Volunteer Managers Conference
  • SEPTEMBER 19 - SEPTEMBER 20, 2024

2024 Volunteer Managers Conference

Save the date and stay tuned! The 2024 Volunteer Managers Conference is loc...

Read more
PCNSW Biennial State Conference 2024
  • OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 2, 2024

PCNSW Biennial State Conference 2024

Every day we hear stories from across the sector of those going above and b...

Read more

Become a member of Palliative Care NSW

Palliative Care New South Wales is the peak body in NSW representing palliative care providers and those with an interest in palliative care. Palliative Care New South Wales is a member of the national peak body Palliative Care Australia.

Join today and receive discounts, benefits and more!
Special member rate available for volunteers.

Subscribe to our eNews

Be the first to know our latest new, events, and research!