Valdosta Daily Times

September 9, 2013

Former Hospice family donates quilt to Langdale Hospice House

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After a family comes through the Langdale Hospice House, many of them find ways to give back to the House in order to help other families.

“They do it in many different ways,” said Debbie Marchant, Intake and Admissions Assistant with Hospice of South Georgia. “Some give donations, some become volunteers.”

Others find their own ways to give back, donating their services as a hairdresser, manicurist, or masseuse. Or, in Heather Boyd’s case, donating her services as a quilter.

“I like to take the essence of something — a painting, a photograph — and turn it into a quilt,” said Boyd, who has been making quilts for 10 years.

When Boyd’s mother, Emmeline Carpenter, stayed at the Langdale Hospice House a year ago, Boyd and her husband, Jesse, bonded with the House’s nurses.

“She was here for a couple of weeks,” said Heather. “We got to know the nurses, who were so nice and comforting. They do a service for families that most people don’t realize.”

While Heather and her family were touched by the warmth of the staff at the Hospice House, the reverse is also true.

“[Emmeline] was an inspiration to me,” said Marchant. “She had a wonderful attitude, always smiling.”

When a patient passes at Hospice House, the staff cover the deceased in a quilt out of reverence for the family. It’s a small touch, but one with character and warmth.

Recently, Jesse overheard a nurse at Hospice discussing how all of the quilts were very floral, with traditionally feminine colors; some patients had asked if they couldn’t also use a more masculine quilt.

Jesse suggested to Heather, who has been making quilts for the last 10 years, that she might be able to solve their problem. Heather decided to make the quilt a tribute to her mother, which is fitting since that’s where she got her love of quilting from.

“Mom made a lot of baby quilts. It’s what inspired me to make my first quilt when I was pregnant with my daughter, Jillian.”

Heather started with a red and blue design, but after deciding to work the Hospice House’s tree logo into the quilt, she went to strong earth tones: dark browns and olive greens.

“When I start a project, I start over here but end up over there. It grows and changes ... I’m just the catalyst to put it together.”

It’s something Heather hopes brings comfort to other families who are going through what her family went through a year ago.

“It’s been my experience that people are a little hesitant about the word ‘hospice,’” said Marchant. “But they’re relieved when they get here. They feel safe and they feel cared for. They find there can be ... a peaceful, calm, painless death.”