Stopping to smell the
roses...even when you don’t have time.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in caring for a friend while
he was under Hospice care in the home. My friend, who was also my
neighbor, had been successfully battling cancer for the past year. Earlier
this year we were saddened to learn that he was going to lose that battle.
Dan lived several more weeks; long enough to give his only daughter away
in marriage, and further impact all those who loved him.
The family chose to use Hospice Northeast, who subsequently came in and
set up his care in the home, with his wife, Mimi, overseeing the various
chores that had to be done. They provided wonderful training and support
to the family. My ‘job’ was to change his Intravenous bags and flush his
pic lines daily. (If you knew me, you would be shocked...to say that I am
squeamish is an understatement)
Dan had the keenest sense of humor you could imagine. He was always
teasing and joking in his wonderful way. When I was pregnant with my
daughter Molly, he used to jokingly call her ‘Molly McButter’. This he did
in spite of my continuous protests and distaste for the nickname. On the
day that I returned home with my new little baby, he sent the most
wonderfully wrapped baby gift, a beautifully container of Molly McButter!
I think that when any one is in caregiving situation, whether part-time or
full-time, there are opportunities for personal growth. Since I saw him
daily, I had the opportunity to reflect continuously. Reflect on the value
of life, humor, and family. Many of the friends and family who visited
him, asked him for final thoughts. What I heard him say over and over was,
“Enjoy the time that you have and make the most of your time with family,
because you never really know how long you have.”
Dan was my neighbor and friend. His life, though short lived, was a
testimony to his love for his family and friends. He gave me hope and
reminded me, through his death, that I should take time to smell the
roses. I will always think of my friend when I see a rose. Good-bye Dan.
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Articles written by Gardner Riel, owner and founder of ElderLink.
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