Support at the End-of-Life for a Fragile Family
Dear Ms. Kett-Blinn,
I asked my friend for the name of the supervisor of the hospice team who lovingly cared for my father during his last days. I was given your name as the contact person.
This was my first experience with hospice care. I’d like to acknowledge that your staff, Mary, Michelle, Tammie and Tim, were not only highly professional, but deeply compassionate as they cared for my father. Additionally, the team went above and beyond as they paved the way for my final visit with my father.
A little background may help in understanding: when my brother and sister finally notified me of my father’s illness, I asked if I should visit Dad and was told, “not at this time.” It was my friend who strongly suggested that I go directly to Dad’s hospice nurse to get the necessary information on Dad’s health. My brother and sister were intentionally withholding information.
In my first contact with Dad’s hospice nurse, Mary, she not only gave me an update on Dad’s health issues but strongly urged me to make the visit… now. I gave Mary a brief overview of my family’s difficult dynamic. While I knew that the visit would not be an easy one, it was still a visit that I needed to make, not just for my sake but for Dad’s as well. Mary and I both agreed that every family has a story, so I knew she understood my situation. I’m certain that it was Mary who helped get the “wheels in motion” for my final visit.
My visit with Dad was not to fix our broken family. It was my visit with my Dad. Period. Considering the circumstances, I kept our visit short and sweet, allowing Dad to set the tone, too. For the first time ever, we spoke the words, “I love you.” I had never held my father’s hand before until I sat at his bedside, quietly watching him sleep. During our brief, yet heartfelt visit, Dad’s mind was clear and sharp as ever. He was comfortable, too. Michelle had taken a picture of me and my Dad together. It’s a picture that I shall cherish, since the only other pictures I have of us together are a few baby ones.
I offered to help my brother and sister, but it was clear they did not want my visit under any circumstance. When my sister locked me out of the house, I learned that they did not want my visit at all. As my husband and I traveled home to Wisconsin, I felt at peace, something I hadn’t felt before. The following morning, Tammie notified me of Dad’s passing. I want to believe that Dad held on until our visit, his gift to me and one that I’ll hold forever in my heart. The intervention of your compassionate staff helped bridge the gap between a father and daughter. My Dad and I are finally at peace. Finally.
I cannot repay the kind and thoughtful actions of your staff, but I can give back in other ways. Recently, I contacted our local hospital and spoke with the Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. I am signed up for the next hospice volunteer training session scheduled at the end of the month.
Ms. Kett-Blinn, if it hadn’t been for Dad’s hospice team, I doubt my visit with Dad would have happened. I would also appreciate it if you would forward my note to Mary, Michelle, Tammie and Tim, along with my deep gratitude and appreciation, not only for their intervention, but for making Dad’s final days comfortable. God bless them! At a later date, I will make a donation to Arbor Hospice in Dad’s memory.
A Very Grateful Daughter
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