About Hospice Journey
Hospice Journey provides free personal websites for people facing terminal illness. Hospice Journey is offered by The Samvara Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in collaboration with hospice organizations throughout the United States.
The dying process is, for many people, the most profound and powerful time of their lives. Hospice Journey websites help people to reflect on their lives, feel the love and support of their family and friends, and express what matters most.
The Inspiration for Hospice Journey
Much of the inspiration for Hospice Journey comes from the experiences that one of Hospice Journey's founders, Marina, shared with her mom, Isabella, during the last months of Isabella's life. Isabella died from cancer in 2007 with support from a hospice in San Francisco.
Marina remembers the experience as the most important time that she ever spent with her mom. Isabella's final months were hard, but they were also the most "heart-opening" time, in Marina's words.
Expressing what matters most
One day, with a spark of inspiration, Marina sat down next to her mom's bed and asked, "Mom, tell me about the people you love." Theirs was a family which had never talked about love directly, so for them, it was a really big question for Marina to ask. Marina thought her mom might talk about her husband or the close friends she had, but instead Isabella took that opportunity to tell Marina how much she loved her, that she cherished memories of Marina's childhood, how sorry she was for the misunderstandings and tough times they had, and how deeply grateful she was that Marina had moved into her house to take care of her in those final months. In turn, Marina told her mom that she loved her, that all past arguments and hurt feelings were forgiven, and how much it meant to her to be the one to journey with Isabella at the end of her life.
It is in honor of that moment that every Hospice Journey website has a Reflections section with questions to spark conversations about what matters most.
Updating and coordinating friends and family
Isabella had a large community of friends and family members, some living in various cities around the world, who would call to find out how she was. Isabella was too exhausted from her illness to talk on the phone very much, and Marina was too busy caring for Isabella to return dozens of calls, even though she wanted to let people know what was happening and knew that it was important for Isabella and her friends to share memories and to say good-bye.
Hospice Journey websites make it easy to update everyone with the latest news and for friends and family to leave messages that can be read and savored again and again as a source of support and love. The websites also include a Lend a Hand page where friends and family can learn what help the family needs.
Disarming the fear and awkwardness around death
Before Marina took care of her mom, she didn't know very much about death, was afraid of it, and felt uncomfortable even talking about it - as many people do. With the help of hospice staff and friends who had been caregivers, Marina learned how to be fully present for her mom. By journeying with her mom, Marina faced her fears and supported her mom in a deep and compassionate way.
Hospice Journey websites provide a Resources section with websites and books which directly address the fear and awkwardness surrounding death, helping those who are dying and their friends and family to become more aware, less afraid, and able to make their time together heart-opening and profound. See these Resources
Created with respect and love
Marina is a software engineer. In the years following Isabella's death, Marina shared her memories of caring for her mom with friends who are also software engineers. Together these friends decided to create personal, private websites as a useful resource for families facing the end of life, designed in a way that would have been helpful to Marina and Isabella.
Our intention for offering Hospice Journey websites is to help people to live well as they are dying, surrounded by the love and support of their family and friends, expressing what matters most and nurturing a sense of well-being and peace.
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