I was asked to write a letter regarding our family's experience with Cornerstone Hospice. I should have done this already but the pain in reliving the loss made this very hard to do. Please bear with me now and I will do my best. My story is a little unique in the fact that I lost my Father-In-Law and my Dad in a three-month time frame. Hospice was involved with both of them.
My Father-in-Law was a native of Clermont and a life-long resident. Hospice became involved with Len about sixteen months before we lost him. The members of the Gold Team became part of our family. He used to tease them, saying they were going to fire him because of the length of time they had spent with him. His nurse, Charlotte, was without a doubt his favorite, but he enjoyed the company of them all. He cherished the visits of the chaplain, especially as he wasn't able to attend church but still wanted that air of fellowship. These people show such compassion; they have a love that is heaven-sent and the very nature of what they do for families like mine is indescribable.
One night when one of the nurses and her aide were trying to help Len and I'm watching him die, praying and crying all at the same time, they both tried to calm him down and comfort him. Then the most amazing thing happened. The nurse, Brenda, was talking to God for Len. Back and forth, first to God and then back to Len. I was standing by the bed and I can feel the presence of God. These people are so special and I think it is a calling.
My Dad went home about three months later. We were fortunate to have the same Gold Team. Hospice stepped in immediately and arranged all that my Dad needed - special bed, bathroom accessories, and incidental things that made life just a little bit easier. Someone from Hospice was there almost every day. We were at Mike Connelly House for three days with my Dad and the staff was gracious, helpful, and always accommodating.
I think what most people need to know is the nature of what this organization is all about. They are committed to nothing less than the comfort and dignity of the end time experience of the individual as well as the family. You set the boundaries, let them know what your comfort level is, and they will move mountains to ensure your wishes are honored. They truly are Angels from God. We can help too, so many different ways that you overlook or take for granted. Volunteering - there are lots of people that die alone and would love to have someone just sit with them. Donations of money, food and paper goods could help. Businesses should really pay attention here; think of the good will it would generate.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and remember, one day we will all be involved with Hospice, one way or the other.