By Tracy Brookshier, Pike County Hospice
February 24, 2020
Hospice can be a difficult field to work in; especially for our nurses, social worker and aides who become attached to our patients and their families; feeling as a part of the family themselves. So when a patient passes away we feel that agonizing grief alongside the family. Our social worker, Carrie Wells said it best when she said this: “Knowing that we can provide such crucial support at a very difficult time is what we live for and we have a passion for doing anything and everything within our power to make sure our patients and families feel this love during their hospice journey”.
I work with such an amazing group of hospice staff; now picture me saying that with sincere tears in my eyes (because they were there for me with my own hospice experiences; but that is a whole other conversation I will save for a later blog). As the marketing coordinator here at Pike County Hospice, I get the pleasure to read the testimonials that we receive from the families we have served. With permission, I upload these testimonials and comments to our website and will use them in other promotional materials to share with our community, so that they can see the positive impact hospice has on patients’ and their families.
Many of these testimonies are short, sweet and full of thanks; with each of them holding a special place in our hearts. Then on occasion we will get testimonies in letter form like the one I am about to share with you. When we receive words like these (again, only with permission), it is an amazing reminder that we are doing something right. This letter was given to us on February 10th, 2020 from the loving wife of a hospice patient that recently passed away. This letter made us all tear up in gratitude; they let us into their home, let us care for both of them and let us show them in person; that hospice is SO much more than death and dying; it’s about living with all we have.
—– The Letter —–
February 10, 2020
My husband, Boyd went on hospice December 5, 2019 after several months of care with Pike County Home Health and left this earth to be with his savior on February 9, 2020. We didn’t know what to expect but I think, like so many people, simply thought of hospice as that last level of care just prior to death. Which I suppose often is, but at least with Pike County Hospice, it was so much more.
What we experienced was a level of compassionate, loving care and concern we never expected nor anticipated. Having already lost two siblings with a third in ill health and some distance away, and aging parents, I found myself in a situation of having limited additional practical help or assistance. Pike County Hospice staff fully stood the gap always striving to meet our needs, often before we realized what was needed. Besides providing medical and personal supplies, we were so often lifted up with words of encouragement, comfort, moral support…and a shoulder to cry on was always available. They also held a deep respect for our faith which we appreciated.
Let me give you some examples:
- We woke up on Christmas morning to a chilly house having discovered that during the night, the furnace had stopped working. It was an unusually mild few days so we were able to get by with portable radiant heaters and were told the price for the repairs was going to be very costly. Already dealing with stress of the current situation, with Christmas, tax time, and bitter cold weather anticipated, it was certainly not the time of year for an unexpected large expense. A few days later, the furnace repairs were made and we were ready to bite the bullet and pay the bill…only to be told it had been taken care of – that Pike County Hospice had contacted the installer to let him know we were not to be sent a bill. We were both overwhelmed with tears of gratitude.
- Another day, staff noticed one of our Christmas trees was covered in mouse ornaments and that this had always been Boyd’s tree. The next thing we know, they’ve talked among themselves and presented Boyd with, yes, another mouse ornament.
- With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, Boyd had already mentioned to me that he felt bad about not being able to give or do anything else to celebrate. Without either one of us saying anything about it, once again the girls had talked and, on February 5th, they delivered fresh flowers, a flickering candle, a full meal served on heart shaped plates, with strawberry cheesecake for dessert; all as an early Valentine’s Day celebration. That day turned out to be a cold, heavy snow day but they were not deterred and it is a memory I will always cherish…as it was also the last day my beloved was truly fully cognizant. He passed away four days later.
I mention these examples but there are countless others.
I speak of the loving care and compassion that Boyd received but that also extended to myself as his caregiver. I would never have considered doing it any other way but perhaps I hadn’t anticipated the exhausted toll it would take on me physically and emotionally. I was amazed at the support I received personally in that regard with support always only a phone call away if needed. They treated me as if I were just as important and deserving of attention as they did my husband.
We always knew that God would meet our every need… even before we might become aware of that need. I am confident that Pike County Hospice was fully part of His plan for us. I now understand why so many people become passionate about supporting Pike County Hospice and I now stand among them.
My use of the word Pike County Hospice “staff” sounds cold and impersonal… which couldn’t be further from reality – it would be more appropriate to say they are “angels among us”.
At the risk of failing to mention someone, a special thank you to Hillary Hakenwerth, Judy Ray and Rachel Henderson. You will each always have a special place in my heart.
Mrs. Brenda Haddock
*Photo of Mr. & Mrs. Haddock at their Valentine Dinner. A big THANK YOU to Mrs. Brenda Haddock for giving us her gracious permission to share with you her personal letter and photo; because of people like her we push through our own grieving tears and continue to reach deeper into our hearts for each family we serve.
The unfortunate fact of life is that it comes to an end for each and everyone one of us, but by choosing hospice care when we are nearing our end, we can leave this world with quality care and the comforting grace we all deserve. We don’t get a second chance at this; when you choose Pike County Hospice you get all of us; our compassion, our expertise, our love and a piece of our hearts.
If you are interested in learning more about hospice care, visit our website or contact us anytime: 573-324-2111.