One Moment, a Lifetime of Memories

By: Phyllis Jason, Care Center Receptionist

Joanne Galloway has a special gift of drawing portraits of people. She uses this gift to create beautiful colored-pencil pictures of hospice patients for their friends and family. With this unique talent she captures vivid and emotional images of powerful moments.

She began in 2005. Joanne had just finished her volunteer training at Angela Hospice when her brother was admitted and passed away at Angela Hospice. She was so moved by the compassionate and loving care her brother received during that time she put her talent to work and drew her first portrait for Angela Hospice.

“I drew a portrait of Saint Pope John Paul which was displayed in the lobby of the old hospice building,” said Joanne. “It provided a good demonstration of my work in hopes of motivating requests. Since then I have completed 256 portraits for grieving friends and families.”

Images of the deceased can only be drawn from photographs. Joanne usually requests several pictures, if possible, to help get the closest sense of the subject’s personality. The more information she receives, the better she can capture of the essence of the person.

“The finished portrait’s accuracy is totally dependant on the quality of the photographs or images. Generally I have learned to work with some very out-of-focus images,” says Joanne.

Joanne receives many requests from other family members when they see her work.

“I always respond to any requests from any person who is grieving,” said Joanne, who is frequently reminded of the impact her gift has on those she shares it with. “I have received floods of thank you notes describing the effects of my work.”

Joanne says one situation that stands out in her mind is a grandmother who was gravely ill and prayed with her son that she would last until her new grandchild was born and she could hold both the new baby and the baby’s brother on her lap. But it was not meant to be.

“I drew a portrait of the deceased grandmother and included in the portrait the baby and the baby’s brother, placing both children on the grandmother’s lap,” said Joanne. The woman’s son sent Joanne a letter expressing his gratitude and wrote: “You have made something that didn’t happen, happen.”

Joanne has received numerous responses much like this, many from children who have lost parents and siblings. Joanne generally is contacted through Angela Hospice social workers who provide support for the grieving families.

“I always accept [the requests], with great joy and appreciation for the work,” said Joanne.

Joanne has photographed every single one of her completed portraits and keeps a portfolio. One portrait stands out to Joanne more than any she has done over the years.

“One portrait that will remain in my heart is the portrait I did of an infant who passed away at eight days after birth. The infant passed away in her mother’s arms,” said Joanne.

She calls her work “Memories Ministries.” She says she is “dedicated to alleviating emotional suffering” and capturing the moment that lasts a lifetime!

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