april 2011


During the last two weeks of my Father's life, at the age of 92, he was loved and cared for like a newborn baby.  Every moment of every day, there was a Hospice nurse or volunteer at his side, ready to meet his every need.  The list of caregivers was three pages long.  The first Hospice worker was Deborah, a crisis nurse who assessed my Father's physical and mental state and started him on the medications that would stop the discomfort and pain.  From that very first night, a pattern was established whereby our family was supported and guided by those Hospice caregivers.

These men and women gave him his medications, sponge baths, put lotions on his dry skin, and changed his clothes and bed linens.  While they were doing this, they taught us how to participate in caring for him and share in this last gift of giving.  Each nurse came with special skills and talents; every day we met amazing people who taught us so much.  There was Cindy, who surprised us one afternoon by spontaneously singing by my Father's bedside.  Cody moved my Father's arms and legs so very, very carefully, and massaged his hands and feet with such tender care, it made me weep.  Later that week, members of the Hospice choir came to the house and Pastor Angelo led us in song and prayer.  Everyone treated my Father with respect and dignity.

All of us who participated in my Father's passing carry these memories with us and have been telling our friends and acquaintances about it.  We will never forget the time we all spent together, helping my Father transition out of his body and into the spirit world.  I will be forever grateful to this Hospice community for teaching me that the process of caring for someone who is dying, and dying itself, can be a sacred and beautiful thing.

Thank you, Mary