Written by Larry Riefberg
The facility was truly but a dream when a group of local businessmen and women joined together to form a golf committee to raise money about 6 years ago. And the group of seasoned golfers and charity tournament “regulars” asked me to join them. Me, of all people. A lawyer – who did not golf! Crazy! But our goal was simple because the mission was so clear: Create a Hospice Golf Tournament that would be THE Number 1 golf outing in the area — and to raise both MONEY and AWARENESS of the hospice mission to a new group of people who might not otherwise be aware of the facility that was about to be a reality in Danbury.
Thanks to the generosity of far too many to name individually, the tournament has thrived and the 6th annual Clancy Relocation and Logistics Regional Hospice Tournament will be held this year on August 29th at the Ridgewood Country Club. It has achieved the vision we had so hoped. And now let me sound like an advertisement: Get your foursome today, before you leave and please consider a sponsorship, buy a tee sign or a flag or both — participate in any way that you can.
I speak of the tournament as a backdrop to tell you that NONE of us on that Committee, myself, Dave LaJoie, Jim Foley, – NONE OF US could ever have imagined — it would have been unfathomable to believe — that within one short year of its opening, the Center for Comfort Care and Healing would be taking us in – not for a tour of the facility, but taking us in as family members whose loved ones were in need of the care Regional Hospice and Home Care was now able to offer. How could that building be so damn relevant to our lives when the year prior, Milestone Road had not even existed?
One year ago today, my wife Meg and I joined my mother-in-law, Jean, and my father-in-law, Boyd, at Rosy Tomorrow’s to celebrate the “Luck of the Irish.” It is so very sad that Boyd is not with us today.
When Boyd Losee, my father-in-law, arrived at Regional Hospice this past July, I stared for a long time at the Abraham Lincoln quote outside his door: “In the end, it’s not the years of your life that count, it’s the life in your years”. Oh, how very, very true. But our family was fortunate: Boyd had accomplished both – 89 years AND a life well lived. By the time we all ran into the hospice reception area that day in the pouring rain, Boyd no longer appreciated where he was. But we did. Greeted with the now famous chocolate chip cookies and hot tea, we all knew he would be at peace during his final days. Boyd’s mind had the will to keep on living; his body would not follow that desire.
After Boyd had passed and our family had left, Meg and I went out on the balcony and looked into the woods: the beautiful trees – leaves of strength and full of life, the deep green color of the grass, the deer walking quietly, the gentle breeze. Boyd was at peace. So too were we. This place is truly an amazing facility.
On February 17, a month ago today, the Center for Comfort Care and Healing celebrated its one-year anniversary with a most beautiful reception and a year full of countless personal stories like ours. In a few moments, you will hear from my good friend Dave LaJoie – about the intimate, loving and compassionate journey of his dear sister, Denise.
My friends, if you have not spent time appreciating this place, you must. Make a commitment right now to go there and see the 12 private suites -each with its own balcony, the multitude of amenities (a chef, spa and salon, living rooms, a library, a chapel) and accommodations for families to stay overnight. The Center provides patients and their families with options for the highest quality care away from home, while supporting their personal needs and respecting their individuality.
The most basic issue for end-of-life care is WHERE – WHERE will our needs best be met. It is a subject we don’t want to talk about and rarely want to think about. But we must. This is about LIFE, not about DEATH. WHERE will out needs best be met? If at your own home, then Regional Hospice will be there for you – consistently and without question delivering the very best in Home Care. Our local Hospice has been delivering that care for decades with utmost professionalism and dedication and compassion. To those who give that care, we cannot thank you enough. We raise our pints of Guinness to you today in praise for all that you do.
And if home is not the best option, then where better to feel the most cared for and comfortable than at the state’s first and only nonprofit, all-private-suite, family-focused hospice center located a 30 MILESTONE ROAD. Milestone Road – what an appropriate address for this facility.
Milestones were used as far back as ancient Rome and were placed along routes to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed – to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination. As milestones come and go in our lives, we often contemplate the events leading up to that milestone itself and what is to follow. For many, milestones are a time of reflection and a time of hope, perhaps a time of regret and resolution, but certainly a time for putting the past in its place and welcoming the future. What better location for the Regional Hospice Center for Comfort Care and Healing than on Milestone Road. And although there are far too many to publicly thank at this time, we must recognize visionaries when they are in our midst: And so to Cynthia Emiry Roy, President and CEO, to George Mulvaney, Chairman of the Board of Directors, when the decision was made to build and fundraise for the Center, to the other past and present dedicated members of the Board of Directors, amazing staff, volunteers and the generosity of all of you . . .This Milestone home stands as a true testament of making dreams a reality for those in need.
The above beautiful remarks were shared by Larry Riefberg at the Brookfield Shamrock Breakfast 2016. We are so very grateful to Larry for his support of Regional Hospice and Home Care. It was our pleasure to serve the Losee family in their time of need.