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A Pop of Color, a Celebration of Life

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we all need a reminder of what’s important and what should be celebrated. Recently, we had a patient in Houston who touched our hearts and did just that. 

Sandra was calm and kind, and well-loved by our staff. She’d earned much success in life as an accountant, traveling the world for speaking engagements. Sandra loved having deep and meaningful conversations with our staff, telling them incredible stories of her travels for work. 

While she loved that chapter of her life, Sandra was now celebrating this current version of her life, even though she was now too weak to even get out of bed. You could see her bright, vivacious spirit shining through, even when just sitting on her bed, surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
 
After a short time, our staff started to notice Sandra was wearing bright colors on her nails: a vibrant blue, a neon yellow and a pink color that popped from across the room. 

When we asked Sandra about the change she said, “I had to wear neutral nail colors nearly my whole career. But that’s done-it’s now time to celebrate and be fun and adventurous!”

Now confined to her bed, she believed this was one of the ways she could really express herself.
 
Hearing that, our staff knew they had a way to add to Sandra’s quality of life. Social worker Stacy, Chaplain Laura, and Case manager Nancy and Hospice Aide Tina planned a surprise party for Sandra, showering her with gifts, including color after color of nail polish.

Of course, it was decided that Sandra needed her nails painted again that very moment!

During the party, Nancy asked Sandra which color she’d like to use on her nails. With a renewed carefree attitude and sense of spontaneity, Sandra said, “Surprise me!”

Our staff had spent so much time with Sandra, and knew her so well, that Nancy could guess what color Sandra would love: purple, the color of passion. She carefully painted each of Sandra’s nails a light lavender, with a fun hot-pink color as an accent on her both of her ring fingers. 
Sandra was thrilled, beaming from ear to ear.
 
“I can’t make it to the spa anymore, but you brought the spa to me! Thank you so much!” Sandra kept repeating over and over. She held up her nails for our staff to admire, telling them she couldn’t wait to show her family. It brought her so much joy, she talked about it for days!



Our staff took photos at the party and created a scrapbook and from that day, every time we went to see Sandra she was holding it close, looking over the photos. 

Sandra died about a month later, just days after her 63rd birthday. Her family still has that scrapbook we made and the nail polishes that we gave her. We’re certain her legacy will live on as brightly and brilliantly as the passionate colors she painted on her nails.