The Urn

A Special Gift

Patients touch our lives in many ways, and we certainly feel rewarded by our relationships with some of them.

During the several years that I facilitated a cancer support group, there were many brave people who touched me.  Once a woman came into my life through this group and taught me, by her own death and courage, the valuable use of humor, laughter and the gift of self.  Her wisdom and humility in this process grew into a friendship that will live and strengthen me forever.

To know her would enable you to understand how a solemn task could be made humorous and memorable for those who would be left behind.  She chose a metaphor to say good-bye to the group and me.  During one session, she casually discussed cremation with the group.  Before her death, she asked her husband to buy a tasteful urn, perhaps a “Blue Delft” one.  This could have been easily missed in conversations during those weeks in group.

A few weeks after her death, her husband came back to the group, visibly mourning his loss.  With courage he processed his separation/good-byes/thanks, but his greatest message was some of his wife’s humor.  In a long thoughtful moment he said, “I want to just tell you all this … my wife wanted you to know she was in a wonderful Delft urn, and it was a good fit.”  I had to laugh, but cried as well.  She had it her way and will always live in the humor of the day.  It was a wonderful gift to me and the group.

Jackie Ward, MSN, PACNP, RN


Staff Development

Riverside Regional Medical Center