To the Editor:
On June 17, 2008, I walked through the doors of the Philip Hulitar In-Patient Center on Smith Street in Providence and I nervously waited for Stephen, my husband of 31 years, to be admitted. Our family thought it would be a brief stay of a day or two for pain management and then we’d return home. Sadly, that didn’t happen. But while we didn’t get the miracle that we had been praying for, we did receive a miracle…one of a different kind… it is the miracle that we call HOSPICE.
H - Home
O - Outstanding
S - Special
P - Peaceful
I - Inspirational
C – Caring, Compassionate, Comforting & Consoling
E - Empathetic
H-Home away from Home: Stephen was at Hulitar for 42 days, and from the moment we arrived we were made to feel like we were home. Jen, the nursing manager, was at the door to greet us and calm our fears. PD, the nurse on duty, took my hand and gently held it as she explained the admitting process. We were treated like family, like we were home.
O–Outstanding: is the only way to describe the care we received and OUTSTANDING individuals make HOSPICE what it is, SPECIAL.
S – Special: It takes a special person to work at Hospice, and special they are. I believe they’ve been called to do the work of God. HOW they do it I will never know, but I am thankful that they do.
P – Peaceful: I truly believe that there was a reason for our extended stay at Hulitar and that reason was for us to somehow begin to find peace in the situation, and we did. While most people would likely dread entering those doors each day, our family found peace in being there. They’ve created an environment that allows you space and time to deal with death in the most peaceful way one could.
I - Inspirational: To inspire someone is an incredible thing, and what makes it so incredible is the fact that most times we don't even know we're doing it. At Hospice, you have a staff full of inspirers. For them, they are doing the work they were called to do. However, the families, as you well know, see it as so much more than that. We sit in awe of the work they accomplish on a daily basis. They continue to inspire us to be stronger individuals at a time where that seems nearly impossible.
C – Caring, Compassionate, Comforting & Consoling: those are some of the words I would use to describe the people of Home & Hospice Care of RI. But here is an interesting fact: at the end of our 42-day Hospice journey, I realized that collectively 42 people cared for our family and I say family, because everyone’s needs are considered, not just the patient. It began with the many nurses; a social worker, who made it possible for Stephen to attend our son’s college graduation and she visited us almost every day at Hulitar; the receptionist, who was always there with a smile and sometimes a smile was all you needed; the bereavement counselor; chaplains, of course, and Dr. Coffin & Dr. Martin.
E – Empathetic : Each and every one of the 42 days, we were approached by everyone with sincere empathy. In a time when you can’t comprehend anyone possibly understanding the pain you are feeling and what you are going through, the entire staff had a way of expressing empathy, which made us feel as though they somehow understood and had gone through the same thing, and were eager to help us make our way through it.
When most families think about death and dying, they normally don't consider it to be an easy time or something that they will want to remember. But OUR families have had the experience of dealing with the death of our loved ones with the added experience of the generosity and warmth from the staff of an amazing organization we know as Hospice. And while the death of my husband is nothing I could ever consider an easy time, the experience at Hospice certainly helped to make it more bearable for my children and myself. Although we were very fortunate to have family and friends, everyone at Hospice became one large extended family to us during those 42 days and a reliable extension to our existing support system!
Author Mary McCarthy says "We all live in suspense from day to day; in other words, you are the hero of your own story.” Hospice has a staff full of heroes - ready to support and inspire to do greater things - something I will never forget as I continue my journey of life…and something I hope carries through the hearts of every family sitting here today.
HOSPICE…not the miracle we hoped for, but the MIRACLE we have all received that has enriched our lives!