After her son, Robert Croley, died in February 2021 at the Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Hospice House, Linda Croley looked for ways to find comfort and peace for herself, and to give back to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for caring for her son. She turned to her hobby of woodcarving and began carving comfort birds.
“The care they provided for him, for me, and for our family was wonderful,” Croley said. “It’s really hard to lose a child, even if he was 50 years old. He was my baby, and I miss him every day.”
Croley belongs to the Huber Heights Senior Center and joined the woodcarving group three years ago to learn a new skill. A member of the senior center was making comfort birds for Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County. With this member’s help, she started carving the birds for the Ohio’s Dayton Hospice House.
Since then, she has carved 97 comfort birds, and the Dayton Carvers Guild has made more than 50 comfort birds to donate nearly 150 to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Each bird takes a few hours to carve, depending on the experience level of the carver. After it is carved, the bird is stained and left to dry.
Comfort birds are small wooden carvings that fit into the palm of one’s hand. When the comfort birds are handed to patients and families, a poem is provided as well that shares the message:
I am a comfort bird. I have flown to you. I will sit in your palm. Together we can fly to a place so calm. Just hold me tight for this flight.
“It makes me feel good to make these comfort birds. Hopefully, someone else appreciates them, too,” Croley said. “What they’re going through doesn’t go away. It’s hard. It is comforting to have something to hold.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is grateful for her hand-carved comfort birds. “These comfort birds are amazing works of art,” said Linda Simpson, volunteer coordinator at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. “Our patients and their families have appreciated these comfort birds. We’re grateful to Linda for her support of our mission.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, is a not-for-profit hospice provider. Since 1978, it has served patients and families in the Dayton region in their homes, extended care and assisted living facilities, and the Hospice House location in Dayton. Grief support services are available to the entire community through the Pathways of HopeSM Grief Counseling Center. Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton serves more than 1,000 patients and families daily, achieving national recognition for innovative services and outstanding care.