Elements of nature resembling water, rock and open air can provide solace in ways that we don’t completely understand. In fact, gardens and natural surroundings enrich the body and soul. Because nature provides such comfort, more medical and hospice facilities are providing comfort and relief through healing gardens.
An Ailing Wife’s Final Request
Rennie Atterbury and his late wife, Cynthia, were high school sweethearts who were deeply in love and inspired by one another. They had just returned home from spending the winter months in sunny California when Cynthia started to feel a persistent tinge in her neck and a tireless cough. To their dismay, Cynthia was diagnosed with terminal cancer and started hospice care. In those final days of his wife’s life, Rennie recalls a sense of relief and comfort that hospice care brought upon Cynthia. He vowed to Cynthia that he would live joyfully in her memory along with completing one specific final request: create a garden in her memory.
Not long after Cynthia’s passing, Rennie became involved with the efforts to build a new, local hospice home. The OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, IL is a picturesque 24-hour care facility meant to comfort patients in pain and control their symptoms in a peaceful, serene setting. Rennie, being a long-time hospice home volunteer, wanted to keep his promise to Cynthia by creating a soothing garden at this new facility.
Since then, Cynthia’s Garden has been a wonderful outdoor addition to the OSF Hospice Home. The tranquil environment bursts with colors from flowers and lulls all who visit with its serene waterfall and stunning rock textures. The quiet walking path leads to a beautiful gazebo where visitors can sit, reflect and pray for loved ones in need.
Garden Support Today and Tomorrow
Countless patients and families have since utilized Cynthia’s Garden, including the Kouri family. In 2015, Shirley Kouri peacefully passed away at the OSF Hospice Home. Shirley’s husband of 50 years, Ed, recalls her always having a smile on her face, no matter what. Cynthia’s Garden was one of Shirley and Ed’s favorite spots to spend their final days together. Ed remains grateful for Cynthia’s Garden and the smiles that were brought to Shirley’s face and others who continue to visit the outdoor space.
Outdoor spaces like Cynthia’s Garden are one part of the overall hospice care that brings solace, peace and improved quality of life for patients and their families. With your donation, you too can help bring comfort to our patients and their families for years to come.