Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

And we thank the guests...

Hospice Celebration Day was just perfect. We had about 35 people maybe more, just a nice size to contend with since I had no helpers. Emma-the-fabulous-Emma had coordinated the hospice caretakers on her end at Kaiser, so I owe a lot to her for her help [insert brays for Emma here].

I think everyone who was invited had a moment of..."A pie party for us? But she doesn't know us...and there will be donkeys there...to hug?"...I can understand the trepidation of being invited out of the blue to a farm to have pie with a total stranger. But everyone who did come got a lot out of their visit. It was a respite for them.

We had chaplains, hospice volunteers and hospice nurses, plus some family members. The weather was perfect, cool with a dash of sun and then a dash of clouds. I must say, the blackberry pie was quiet perfect, but the peach was a winner too. Some people brought picnics of their own garden fare.

But more than anything, I really enjoyed and appreciated talking to some of the hospice nurses about the process we go through at the end of life. And what a privilege it is to be a witness to it. I want to write more about it later.

When we sat down last night, just me and Martyn, we relived the day and I think Martyn summed it up best with, "They just do such important work, day in and day out, without a respite in between deaths."

But also, we got filled up with their visit too. We put a lot of energy out for our guests, but we always get filled up too. Just like the land reciprocates our hard work and gives us bounties, I know the our hard work gave bounties to the guests, and their presence gave us bounties in return.

So enjoy the few photos I could take. Hoping people will send some more, including the group shot at the end of the day.
Me and the wonderful Emma - hospice nurse,animal lover and friend [wearing one of my aprons she bought some time ago].

I have to scan some of the prayer flags that came to the event. We had people write things to caregivers they know, clients or family. I'll be turning them over to Kaiser Volunteer Hospice person, who has an idea to hang them, and maybe get family members to add to them over the years.

This little guy has blackberry stains all over his face if you look closely. He also spent a lot of time making a path to a blackberry bramble and offered to come each year and clear a path, or even 'bring a lawn mower'.
Carol[left] is a Hospice Chaplain. She was a hoot! Can you tell? She found one of my apron creations in the studio and had to have it, even though the friend she came with had wanted to buy it. So Carol put that apron on and wouldn't take it off. It says "Old hippies make good pie". I love this picture. It makes me happy.

And in the end, all the guests had left, and the One Eye Pug designated himself the cleanup committee.