When my mom was sick and dying of cancer in the early 80s, we didn’t have access to hospice care in our area. We had the assistance of the visiting nurse association, and they were helpful. But my dad, 81-year-old grandmother and I, were responsible for 95 percent of my mom’s care.
I was only 14 when my mom was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. She was only 43. It was traumatic and devastating, and it changed the course of my life forever, and not for the better. I only wish that hospice was available to us at that time, because it would have been so much easier for us to care for my mom.
Nearly 30 years later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and I was his caregiver for three years prior to his death in 2014. I can’t tell you what a Godsend Heartland Hospice was to me and my dad during his illness. It was the difference between night and day comparing my mom’s ordeal with my dad’s. I had to quit my job to care for my dad, and we moved him into our home. During this time, my husband and I began to experience financial stress because I couldn’t work while caring for my dad. We were also raising our son who has special needs. The situation could have been extremely overwhelming, but it wasn’t. The Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund helped us pay for some of our household bills. Who does that?
The Grand Rapids Heartland Hospice team, especially Amy, Allison, Patty, Nancy, Hannah, Deb, Pastor Jim and Meredith, helped us not only with my dad’s physical care, but they also helped us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I don’t think my dad nor I would have done as well without them. They became more than caregivers. They became our friends. Those caregiver friends of ours, along with the Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund, will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will never forget what they did for me and my dad. I just wanted you to know you helped us through one of the worst time periods in our lives and how grateful, thankful and appreciative we are to have had you all by our side.