A few days before Thanksgiving, Carrie Serres visited Transitions Hospice headquarters in Huntley, IL with a big sack in her hands. She brought in drawstring bags in different colors with the word “Remember” embroidered on each. Her explanation on what the bags are for warmed our hearts right away.
“I came up with these Bags to help people who sit at their loved one’s bedside as they transition and pass.” Carrie was in this position 6 years ago when she sat at her dad’s side for several days, sad, weak, and quite disoriented with the situation. “I want to help others as they experience one of the most difficult days and perhaps nearly forget to care for themselves,” she shared.
Carrie is an only child and her father battled Alzheimer’s Disease for over 8 years. She witnessed his discomfort and difficulty as the disease progressed. His sickness took a turn for the worse in January 2010. “I remember his rapid decline from Tuesday to Saturday when he passed. I had some family join me that week, but I never left my dad’s side.”
In May of 2016, an uncle of hers passed away, also from Alzheimer’s. Carrie then recalled the difficulty in sitting bedside, watching a loved one decline and pass. She then came up with the idea of making small useful kits for vigil sitters who are going through the same difficult situation, enduring empty days and cold nights.
By August of the same year, she started asking for help from others, mostly individuals, to fund the Vigil Bags. Each bag is packed with a notepad, pen, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a blanket. A handwritten note is attached to each.
In January 2010, I sat where you sit, watching my dad take his last breath. Whether your loved one’s battle was long or short, I know the last days still come as a shock. I’m so sorry for what you are going through!
This bag was put together through donations from people who have been in our shoes! I hope the contents, as well as the sentiment, help you through these last days or moments. Please know we’re praying for the comfort of your loved one and your strength and comfort too.
With peace and love,
Transitions Hospice will help continue this thoughtful initiative and will be delivering these Vigil Sitting Kits to families throughout the year. If you or anyone you know is interested in supporting this good cause, donations in cash or kind (non-perishable items) are accepted. Donations can be made via drop off at Transitions offices (Huntley, Naperville, Rockford, Peoria, Champaign, or Indiana), through mail, or let us know and we can setup a pick-up service.
Together, lets share love and kindness this Holiday Season and touch one life at a time. Happy Holidays!