The first Hospice in America began providing care in Connecticut in 1974. By the end of that decade a group of compassionate Ardmore people had committed themselves to the Hospice concept of care for the dying.They put the wheels in motion to form a Hospice for Southern Oklahoma to be located in Ardmore. This group formed a nonprofit corporation in 1981 and called their organization Cross Timbers Hospice.
It is interesting that not many people from this area know why that particular name was selected. It is a beautiful and meaningful name.
Ardmore is located in the middle of a habitat type or vegetational area which runs throughout much of Central Oklahoma and North Central Texas known as Cross Timbers Region. This beautiful and varied section of the country is a transitional area where the woods (primarily Post Oak and Blackjack trees) cross stretches of prairie, thus the name “cross timbers.” As you look at the land, the result is areas of timber interspersed with naturally occurring openings which are usually covered with the grasses typical of the Tallgrass Prairie Region which becomes dominant to the west and south of Ardmore.
The symbolism of the name Cross Timbers brings a particular meaning which I cannot help but believe was part of the reason this group of founders chose such a descriptive name.
As anyone is faced with the fact of their own death, or the death of a loved one, they begin a transition.They begin to move from the familiar environment which has brought a certain amount of security, into a different and uncertain environment. Like moving from the wooded area into a grassy opening, and back into the woods,these peoplemove in and out of this new environment. One moment they are very much in the familiar life they have known, but the next moment their thoughts take them into that new, different place about which they know very little. And so, for the next few months, they will move between where they’ve been, to where they know eventually they must go.
For many, this moving in and out brings, finally, a familiarity with the new and the fear diminishes. They become familiar with the new environment and even, perhaps, at times, long to explore it further. It’s not that they exactly want to leave their long–time home. It’s just that they have become resolved to the unavoidable moving into the new. Perhaps, eventually, they even look forward to the new beauty of this place and finally ceasing from the struggle of winding and backtracking through the trees of their life. For these, they may even begin to long to just lie down in the tall grass, allow the warm sun to soothe their pain and just rest a while.