Last year as I sat here it never crossed my mind that I would be here speaking today. Little did I know the effect hospice would have on our family a month later.
My sister Denise, who lived in New Jersey, had been fighting cancer for many years. She had been in and out of the hospital trying different experimental therapies but was not having much success. It was taking its toll on Denise and our Mom, who was her primary caregiver. It had reached the point that there was nothing more that the hospitals could do.
We are a close-knit family and Denise wanted to be surrounded by all of us. We could not do this in New Jersey and we were very happy to hear that the Center for Comfort Care and Healing had an opening and we were able to bring Denise to Danbury.
Everyone at Regional Hospice and Home Care was so nice and accommodating. Every day the chef would come in with freshly made cookies and he would ask if there was anything special that Denise or my Mom would like to eat. A priest might stop by just to sit and talk or pray. There were also therapists who offered massages or just quiet reflection. There is a kitchen where there was always fresh coffee brewing or you could make yourself a hot tea. Also there is a children’s room where my niece and nephew could sit and play their video games when they needed time to escape from the adults.
But what I feel is the most important service that the Hospice Center provides comes from the care that the nursing staff gave Denise and our family. There were times when we wanted or needed privacy and they were very respectful of our wishes. They know when to step in and provide comfort when needed. Dealing with patients that are at the end of life takes a lot of compassion. One night after they had changed the bed sheets, they told my mom to get in bed and lay next to Denise. They knew that it was Denise’s time. They are very special people.
I cannot thank Cynthia Emiry Roy enough for having the foresight to develop the Center for Comfort Care and Healing. Peggy Elis for chairing this wonderful breakfast. And all of you for being here supporting the Hospice organization.
The above words were delivered by Dave Lajoie at the Brookfield Shamrock Breakfast 2016. Our deepest condolences go to the Lajoie family. Thank you Dave for sharing your personal hospice experience.