Bucket Lists Are More Than Just Buzz Words

Often times people who are given the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness have a list of things they would like to do, places they would like to see, and people they want to visit with, before the end of their life. Our culture sometimes calls these wishes a “bucket list”.

As you draw near to the end of life, your “bucket list” has a tendency to get very focused on the things that really matter. This was the case for one of Serenity HospiceCare’s patients. William really just wanted to see his son, one more time (the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the patient).

His wish sounds simple was really quite complicated. It had been years since they had spoken to one another, and over time, they had lost track. William had no idea where his son might be. There was very little information to go on, other than his name and birthday.

Times like these are when the staff at Serenity HospiceCare can do their very best work. The Serenity social worker set about the challenge of finding William’s son, and making that last request a reality. Online searches and phone calls began. The Serenity team committed to leaving no stone unturned, until the possibility of a reunion was thoroughly researched.

After days of dead ends and wrong turns, a phone call paid off. William’s son was found, and he wasn’t far away. He was in the Farmington Correctional Center. The staff at Serenity HospiceCare worked closely with officials of the Farmington Correctional Center over the course of several weeks to arrange a visit between father and son. It was a challenging task, but it was possible.

On a cloudy Friday morning, William, along with his Serenity HospiceCare nurse and social worker entered the front gate of the Farmington Correctional Center, where his wish would be granted, and his dream would become reality. The reunion was a precious four hours spent together, talking about life, reminiscing about the past, and sharing the love that only exists between a father and his son.

The visit was life-changing, for William, but also for his son. The gift of that last visit with his father helped him realize that he was ready to do something positive in his life. He is now taking classes and making plans for a second chance at a better life.

Looking back on his “bucket list” visit, William said, referring to his Serenity HospiceCare social worker, “I can’t believe someone would care enough to do this for me.”

“It is these times, when we are able to help fulfill a wish that our work becomes so much more than just a job,” said Shelley Layton, Executive Director of Serenity HospiceCare. “Our entire office rejoiced when we received word that we would be able to share the good news with William, and he would finally get to see his son.”

“What we do is much more than a job,” said Gayla Sisk, Director of Social Work and Bereavement. “It’s really a calling. We are blessed by doing these things as much or more than the patients that we serve.”

For more information on Serenity HospiceCare, call us at 573.431.0162 or 800.876.0162, or visit us online at SerenityHC.org.