Book designed to help families close chapters

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 31, 2002

In her years as a nurse in an intensive care unit, nursery intensive care unit and most recently hospice, Carol (Vandegrift) Goette has seen many families feel overwhelmed when trying to pack up a house full of memories.

Because of these families’ stories and needs, she’s written a book, &uot;Packing Up the Memories,&uot; designed to help families overcome the obstacles they may face.

&uot;The crux of the book are things people can do to cherish the memories they have and create memories of their own,&uot; said Goette, a native of Albert Lea now living in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;This book was written because I believe that this process of ‘packing up the memories’ is part of the grieving and healing process that needs to take place after these losses,&uot; Goette wrote. &uot;… I see the job coming as a result of planning for the inevitable before it needs to be done. For this reason, it’s my hope that people will do some of these things as a ‘gift’ to their loved ones, before a need exists. Or that they will do these things with a remaining parent before they are gone too.&uot;

Goette said her own parents, Doug and Tracy Vandegrift did in their early 60s did many of the things people will read about in the book.

&uot;At first it was difficult to talk about when they would be gone, but so many delightful memories have been created because of our ability to talk like this that it has been well worth the initial discomfort,&uot; Goette said. &uot;Those discussions have taken away many of the challenges that would face us as a large family once they were gone.&uot;

Goette’s book includes sections on preserving family treasures, decisions that need to be made, preparations for packing up the memories, how to pack up the memories, partial dependence of a parent, the need for advance directives and a preparedness checklist, caring for a loved one as they age and end-of-life care, volunteers, and funeral and the grieving process. There are also copies of letters, lists, forms and resources for caregivers.

The book is written to patients’ families, and sometimes to the patients themselves, she said.

&uot;It’s not legal or financial advice,&uot; Goette added. &uot;It’s ‘How can I create my legacy to pass onto my children and their children?’

&uot;I feel God led me to write this book. It’s a gift of love,&uot; she said.

Goette is a 1967 graduate of Albert Lea High School, as is her husband, Steven.

For more information on the book, Goette may be contacted via e-mail, .