Moments of Life Made Possible By Hospice
Moxie Column (October 2014)
Column - What We Should Know About End-of-Life Care
Feature –Moments of Life Made Possible By Hospice
By: Angelia Neumann, Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice
9/29/14 by Angelia Neumann, Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice
I am not the same person I was a year ago. That may be true for many of us based on what we have experienced in the past twelve months. For me, it’s mostly because of what I have witnessed in my first year of working in hospice. I’ve often wished I could share with you what I see and learn, but the stories are not mine to share. Today I’m excited to introduce you to a new website where individuals are offering you glimpses of what I see every day.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recently launched the “Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice” campaign to refute the idea that hospice means giving up on life. At momentsoflife.org, you’ll find a blog where individual patients, hospice workers, and family members are sharing pieces of their journey with you. A few minutes of reading may change your perspective on hospice and life. The blog offers snapshots of families facing terminal illness living life to the fullest with the help of hospice.
You’ll meet Stella and no doubt smile over her limo ride to Ocean City with family, singing all the way there, just to sit calf-deep in the surf. Stella discovered joy lies in the simple pleasures of life. The trip was arranged by her hospice social worker and her hospice nurse accompanied the family to manage Stella’s healthcare needs (and to take part in the fun as well, I’m sure!).
Some stories are simple. Others are eloquent. One writer draws you into her life by painting a scene with her words only to disclose she first started writing when her hospice counselor encouraged her to journal during her mother’s hospice experience. Journaling became a healing force in her life and she continues to write to this day. She is now a published author and donates ten percent of her proceeds to hospice.
My favorite is Cora and Irvin’s love story of 69 years. They remind me of my grandparents in the way they loved each other and “never met a stranger”. Home hospice allowed them to care for each other and stay together to the very end. Cora died six days before Irvin, with him lying beside her holding her hand. Their daughter comments on how the hospice team didn’t focus on her parents’ dying process, but rather “was respectful of our request to concentrate on celebrating (their) lives, and their love.”
Catherine, a retired hospice chaplain who is now a hospice patient herself, shares her story on the MomentsofLife blog. “Working with hospice has shown me that it is possible to make the transition from this life to the next, and that it is possible to die without fear. It is everybody’s right to die with a tear and a smile, surrounded by joy and those they love.” Her advice to all of us; “Life is very beautiful…Cut the crap, drop the petty things, and let the love shine through.” Well said, Catherine!
Angelia Neumann is director of development and communications at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls.