Susan, Rochelle, and Lynn are Registered Nurses with years of collective experience in hospice, mental health, and public health nursing, across the USA and Canada. Sharing a common concern for the families they serve, they envisioned One Washcloth as a means of inviting families to experience the healing benefits of care for a loved one after death.
I have been working in healthcare since the early nineties. I started out as a home health aide and then in 1998 became a registered nurse. My experiences in both positions as well as in my personal life has led me to believe that our society in the US has been negatively affected by our disconnection from death. One Washcloth’s mission is to help heal that wound by reintroducing this ancient art in a simple, non-threatening way. There is no way to predict how a reconnection will affect our nation but I am willing to bet the ramifications of such an event will be overwhelmingly positive.
As a crisis care RN in ER, I watched families courageously care for loved ones after death in tragic and unexpected circumstances. I made it my practice to invite families into the resuscitation area after a death, offering a warm washcloth to partner, parent, or child. It was beautiful to witness the intuitive care these grieving family members gave, as they gently wash their loved one’s face and hands. Though I know this can not be easy, I never heard any regrets: “We cared for him, after the accident.” “I was there. I loved her to the end.” “I washed his beautiful face, for the last time.” It is my hope that the One Washcloth project will offer this healing experience to many.
Santa Barbara, California
In my career as a hospice nurse and as the mother of 3 children, I have learned the importance of allowing people to do for themselves as much as possible. To do for others can take away their sense of pride, ownership, and accomplishment. One Washcloth is an example of a tool loved ones can use with very little need for assistance. At the time of loss, the tangible task of wiping the brow of a loved one can create tender, lasting memories.