Hospice of Warren County provides an opportunity to patients to record their lives and thoughts in a hard-back book for loved ones to reflect on after they are gone.
Lisa To, executive director for Hospice, said the idea for the books came from Dr. Keith Price, the organization's medical doctor.
"Our team identifies patients that are capable and willing, and then gives them a series of written questions in advance to give them time to think about what they want to say," To said. "Within a week or so, a volunteer goes back and records answers to the questions plus whatever else they want to say."
During this interview, which takes about an hour, the presentation page is signed and the patient or primary caregiver is invited to select a color for the cover.
Pat Carlson, who is a Hospice board member and a volunteer, then transcribes the interview using voice recognition software. The transcription is then returned to the patient or primary caregiver for review and edits, if required.
"We wanted it to be simple, but elegant," To said. "We pay for the first book, but more copies may be ordered." Additional copies cost $70 each.
She added that they are shown a book about David Martin, who offered to be a "guinea pig" patient for the first book. Ironically, he died a few months later. His book was entitled, "A Conversation with David Martin."
A forward in the book says, "The Lasting Legacy Initiative is designed to provide each participant with: Time for life reflection, enhancement of life's significance and meaning, ease of communication with loved ones, tangible record of events, thoughts, advice and love and whatever more the participant wants it to be."
The patient is also allowed to add quotations and up to six photographs. Martin's book begins with a quote from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven...."
Martin's son John Martin, M.D. gave his reaction to the book, saying, "
"As the days pass since my father's death, time has become my best friend and my worst enemy. The pain of the loss seems to slowly fade as I come to terms with the new reality of a life without the joy and strength he brought to my life. But time also robs me of the clarity of the sound of his voice, the times we shared, and I am afraid I will lose those precious memories."
"Always the wise man, Dad anticipated this and as has always been the case in my life, he provided a solution, 'Lasting Legacy'. Captured in this priceless book, his words, his wit, his humor and his wisdom. He lives on in these pages and I can feel his presence when I read and re-read the interview."
"While pictures preserve his image in my mind, Lasting Legacy preserves the essence of the man who remains my guiding light. It is a gift treasured above all others."