Tori is known for being a no-nonsense person with a big heart. When tragedy and heartbreak arrived on the doorstep of her family’s home life, she offered these qualities in service. A few years back, her husband’s brother took his own life. The event devastated his family, leaving everyone angry and hurt. Tori expected that her husband would never be the same. Then, less than a year ago, another brother committed suicide. How, she wondered, would the family deal with this? How would they ever recover? This time, she decided to approach her own grief differently. She decided to act. When her mother-in-law was paralyzed with disbelief, Tori made all the funeral arrangements. She accompanied her sister-in-law to the mortuary to select a casket. She mediated difficult conversations. At a time when life seemed to stand still, Tori was on the move, doing whatever needed to be done. “You are our little rock,” her mother-in-law gratefully acknowledged. Grief and our engagement in it can be very complicated. Everyone responds in a very personal manner as he or she moves slowly through the fog and fallout of loss. For Tori, doing whatever she could contributed to her own healing process.
Tori is the CT Coordinator for St. Mark’s.
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”