Donna hospice nurse

Donna’s Jar of Stones Helps Her Remember Those She Has Served

Oct 26 2022

Caring and nurturing others came so naturally to Donna Meier at a very young age.

“When I was a young girl, I asked my mom for an empty aspirin bottle that I filled with Smarties candy and would pass them out to my teddy bears,” Donna recalls. “I would also use a plastic stethoscope to listen to their cotton-filled hearts and bandage their ‘boo-boos.’”

Donna continues, “then, my younger brother was born. From birth, he had several medical issues and unfortunately passed away at only 22 months. This was after having endured months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Having spent most of his little life in the hospital, it was then that I cemented my dream of becoming a nurse.”

And today, Donna is a hospice case manager with our ministry in our Lorain market. But it took a journey to get her here.

“My life took a far turn from my dreams of becoming a nurse until one day when I was feeling down and hopeless,” Donna shares. “It was then that I decided to pick myself up after going through some personal life challenges and put myself first. I remembered my dream of being a nurse and thought about my brother. I dusted off my brain and went back to college to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse.”

Donna has now been with Mercy Health since 2012, where she started in the intensive care unit (ICU) and then moved to the emergency room (ER) before finally becoming a hospice nurse in 2016.

“I have spent the past six years in my role as a case manager for hospice,” she states. “This role has been the most rewarding of my entire career as a nurse. When I started, I decided to keep a little measure of how many patients’ lives I’ve had the pleasure sharing in their end-of-life journey.”

This is when Donna started her jar of stones.

“This jar represents my six-year hospice anniversary, with 642 stones and each beautiful stone represents one beautiful soul,” she explains. “Each person has touched and enriched me in one way or another. People are placed in our lives for a reason, whether it’s for their benefit or for our own. However, what matters is that we take these experiences and grow from them.”

Donna shares that some people may find her jar to be strange, and that’s OK with her.  

“When I look at my jar, it tells me that I’m going to have one heck of a party when I cross over to the other side one day,” she says. “Can you even fathom the number of blessings in your entire life of people who have touched you along your journey? When you start to feel down, remember there is always someone who has it worse. Brush yourself off and remember to count your blessings!”

Learn about the hospice and palliative care services we offer at Mercy Health.

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