A Piece of Paradise in the Midst of Winter

​Hawaiian music filled the air. Guests chatted while dining on tropical fare laid out atop a candlelit table decorated with seashells. To anyone, it seemed a scene right out of Maui, but for Hospice of the Western Reserve home care patient, Violet, it was a wish come to life during an Ohio winter.

Hospice of the Western Reserve’s paid and volunteer staff make it their mission to get to know each individual patient. Sometimes the support they offer goes far beyond medical care with our ‘Moments to Remember’ program, an opportunity to honor patient wishes. Violet, a homecare patient, told her daughter that she had always hoped to travel to Hawaii. The music and traditional Polynesian dancing always inspired her; however, she was never able to make it happen. But when her hospice care team heard about her interest in traveling to the tropics, they put a plan in action – to bring a Hawaiian luau to Violet during her scheduled respite stay at Ames Family Hospice House.

Respite care is offered for patients whose caregiver needs a short interval of rest. Respite care is available at each of our three Hospice Care Centers.

In preparation for the luau, paid and volunteer staff worked together to create a true Hawaiian experience. Volunteers brought the idea to life – from styling Violet’s hair with a colorful hibiscus bouquet to decorating the meditation room. Volunteer Joel, created an authentic menu, with a buffet of macaroni salad, Hawaiian rice, pineapple coconut rum marinated wings and fresh fruit. Dessert was coconut pie – Violet’s favorite

For entertainment, Mani from Manivic’s Dance Company performed for Violet and her guests, which included her son. Mani has specialized in authentic Hawaiian and Polynesian dance for more than 20 years. She offered her services free of charge after learning of the agency’s mission. Mani shared the meanings behind her dance moves accompanied by festive music to the delight of the group. 

“I won’t forget this as long as I live,” quipped Violet, as she sipped punch from a coconut cup, while marveling at the atmosphere and music swirling throughout room, including Malena, a young volunteer seated under a makeshift palm tree who joyfully played an ukulele.

There is no doubt that the moment will also live on in the hearts and minds of the staff, family and friends who were also able to enjoy a little slice of Hawaii with Violet. Thank you to the paid and volunteer staff – and Violet – for truly embodying the Aloha spirit.

Aloha (pronounced [əˈlo.hə]) in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello. The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.” It comes from “Alo,” meaning presence, front and face, and “ha,” meaning breath. Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. Its deep meaning starts by teaching ourselves to love our own beings first and afterwards to spread the love to others.

Visit our website to learn about volunteer opportunities at Hospice of the Western Reserve.

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Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.