The newspaper story in this post was written by a hospice patient of ours after her Volunteer, Ellen, did a hand casting for her and her husband. Our patient was so moved by it, she wrote a lovely article in one of our local newspapers.
A Heart ‘n Home Volunteer scheduled to visit with and take one of our sweet, hospice patients to visit her sister, who lived just down the road. This patient had been able to drive herself up until the week prior. The sister was in a poor state of health, so making weekly visits was very important to our patient. This went on for a couple of weeks, until the patient and Volunteer both noticed that the sister was really starting to decline. Unknown to the Volunteer and patient, one of their visits fell on the day the sister took her last breath. Because of the compassion of the Heart ‘n Home Volunteer, the patient was able to see, comfort, and be a sense of presence to her sister through her final hours.
Shortly after our patient’s sister passed away, we held a Celebration of Life in our Meridian office. The Volunteer brought our patient so she could grieve, honor, and celebrate her sister. The Volunteer sat with her through the whole thing and provided companionship in the sincerest of ways. Seeing the two of them in the room together – the Volunteer lightly touching the patients arm as a means of saying, “I’m here,” was one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I have ever seen.
Because of the Volunteer, our patient was able to visit with her sister at a time most precious and seek comfort in her passing through celebration. A moment definitely made possible by hospice.
Recently when visiting a couple of patients in a nursing facility, I was holding the hand of a little lady with severe dementia and talking to her softly and calmly. She was unable to communicate with words because of her disease progression, but she spoke volumes of thanks to me when she pulled my hand up and kissed the back of it. This non-verbal gesture spoke to my heart, encouraged my day, and reminded me just how a few extra moments to reach out to someone with love, especially those who can’t request it, can make a world of difference for both people. Hospice made this moment possible.
My mom fought to live with courage and determination. We spent months going to treatments three days a week, transfusions, and ER visits because her will to live was so strong. I could see things were not going well and that treatments were not helping, but she wanted to fight and it was her battle … I was just there to support and do all I could to help.
One day, we went to treatment and could hardly get her out of the car and into the house. She was so weak, so tired, and her life was fading. Her cancer clinic could not bring themselves to tell her that treatments were not working, but I knew. I believe they wanted her to make the choice, knowing she did not want to die. Sometimes making choices is out of our hands. As caregivers, we must often take situations into our own hands and know hospice is ours to use.
I called for hospice, and even though we only had hospice for less than 24 hours, our hospice Nurse brought a calmness and understanding of what was needed. My mom was in discomfort from pressure on her lungs. She did not share this or possibly didn’t realize it herself. Her Nurse immediately identified the problem and took the necessary steps to alleviate her pain. My mom opened her eyes, smiled at her Nurse, and said, “I love you!” At that moment, my mom knew she would be comfortable and could finally relax. As a family, we were able to be together peacefully. She had a calm night and passed quietly onto her next journey the following day.
With hospice we received understanding, assurance, and direction at a time when our emotions and stress were high. All we wanted for Mom was peace, comfort, and for her to pass in her own home surrounded by the ones she loved. My only regret is that we did not have hospice sooner. Hospice brings comfort and kindness in your darkest hour. Hospice made this time possible with my mom.