A playful toy discovered by her child is the kind of sweet moment that will help Lori Crews through the holidays. Without her husband Patrick, she was dreading Christmas time. "It's not as bad as I expected, but I'm ready for them to be over with," she said.
They should pass quickly as she keeps up with her son, Hunter. He's about to turn three. Hunter is anticipating gifts of a toy truck on Christmas morning.
She's also sharing this special time as an advocate for Hospice of Deep East Texas. Lori wants to lead people to the Hospice Tree of Life fundraiser and the agency. Crews shared, "If you ever need them, don't ever hesitate, because they are the best. They helped with everything, his care. They would come over, bathe him, and take care of him, and they would set down and talk to us and visit with us."
Jessica Henderson is the Crews' social worker. She knows Patrick would be proud of his family. Henderson said, "He was such a servant to the community, was giving, and I think for them to give back to the community the way Patrick gave is one of the reasons why I think Lori was so honored and appreciative to do this."
Bitterness could come easily. Cancer has taken so many of the Crews family. Crews said, "It's gotten all three of the children. Patrick, his sister, and his brother. His mother passed away almost four years ago, and then his dad was diagnosed in March with it." But giving is in Lori's nature, and even Hunter's. Lori continues to care for her father in law. "I'm all he has," she quietly said, while Hunter played beside her.
The circumstances can be overwhelming at times, but with the continued guidance from Hospice, Lori knows she and Hunter will do just fine. "I will be okay. Hunter and I both will, and everybody out in the community -- I can't say 'thank you' enough." And neither can Hospice for an opportunity to make the memory of a loved one shine brightly.
The Hospice Tree of Life is on display at the University Mall. Donations are recognized with ornamental doves honoring loved ones. Donation slips can be picked up at the mall, Hospice of Deep East Texas on Mound Street, or Bancorp South.