Another friend at the end: Yarmouth couple offers hospice greeting cards

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YARMOUTH — Having to say goodbye to a dying loved one is arguably the hardest time in anyone’s life.

Drawing from their own experiences and talents, Katherine and Gordie Holmes of Cousins Island hope to bring comfort to those dealing with the end of life through a new line of hospice-themed greeting cards: Hospice Sentiments by Katherine.

Katherine said last week that in her work as a hospice nurse she “noticed the patients have no cards. They have no greeting cards. They would have like an old Christmas card on the wall from last Christmas, or a Mother’s Day card that was 8 months old. And the families would come in … they would sit there for days and have no visitors, or no interaction with people.”

A self-described “big card person,” Katherine said she saw a need for a different kind of product. She approached her husband, a real estate broker who recently completed a fiction novel, and Gordie researched the idea. He could find nothing except thank-you cards to be sent to nurses after patients die.

Gordie noted that certainly there are cards that can be sent to dying patients, like sympathy and “thinking of you” cards, “but nothing that addresses this issue of death the way (we have done it).”

The couple had three notions in mind when creating their line of cards, a project that Katherine noted is independent of her hospice work: acknowledgement that the patient is dying, and the patient knowing he or she is loved, and will be remembered.

“All of the cards say that in different ways from different people to different folks,” said Gordie, who wrote the text for all the cards. Donna Stackhouse created the art adorning each card.

There are cards to and from a patient, and to and from family members. There are also announcement cards that help a family member send word that the difficult decision has been made to put that patient into hospice.

The cards are available at Shirley’s Hallmark in Falmouth and Wilson’s Drug Store in Bath, and the Holmeses are hoping to expand. Two cards in their line of 24 designs have been acquired for worldwide publication.

One card, to someone’s dying loved one, is called “On the Other Side.” It reads, in part, “Do promise me this / as you go on your way— / That you’ll wait for me there / because I must stay. / When I come to be with you / on the other side / Just beyond the wind / and beyond the tide / You’ll be there for me, / just like before / With love everlasting, / for you I adore.”

Another states simply, “It has been a joy to have you as my friend. / My thoughts and prayers / are with you every day.”

Log onto or call 653-9449 for more information.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

Katherine and Gordie Holmes of Cousins Island have created a new line of cards for hospice patients and their loved ones.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.