Hospice SLO County is holding the Fourth Annual “On this Side of Goodbye” contest in recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16.

Community members are invited to submit their experiences with saying goodbye in times of dying through essays, poetry or artwork throughout the month of April. Three chosen entries will be publicized on their website.

“Experiencing the death of someone in our life is unique for each of us,” said Shannon McOuat, Executive Director of Hospice SLO County. “We might find ourselves touched or challenged in unexpected ways. This is an opportunity to honor, create, express, share, and remember those who have died in our lives.”

The annual “On This Side of Goodbye” contest aims to spread awareness about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD stresses the importance of talking with your loved ones about your health care wishes and documenting those wishes by completing an advance directive.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made advance care planning more meaningful for many people,” said McOuat.

For over 40 years, Hospice SLO County has provided free services to individuals coping with a life-limiting illness, end of life or grief. Among other services, professionally trained volunteers and staff provide individual and group grief counseling for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. The volunteer hospice organization also provides in-home respite for caregivers, an End-of-Life Doula program, and a Pet Peace of Mind program. Services are offered throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Entries are due Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm.

Acceptable mediums include essays, poetry and artwork.

To download guidelines and registration forms, please visit https://hospiceslo.org/events/4th-annual-on-this-side-of-goodbye

Any community member in San Luis Obispo County may submit an essay, a poem or a piece of artwork. Individuals under 18 years of age will need a parent or guardian’s signature.

For grief counseling services, please call Hospice SLO County at (805) 544-2266.

Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, a local, 501(c) 3 non-profit, volunteer, non-medical hospice, has been providing county-wide in-home respite care, emotional support, practical assistance, and comfort to individuals who are experiencing the impact of a life-limiting illness since 1977. The organization also offers grief-counseling services, including individual, family and group counseling, to anyone grieving the death of a loved one. All Hospice SLO County services are provided at no charge and are supported through direct donations and fundraising events.