Our stories about meaningful experiences are written as they unfold. Therefore, most stories are in the present tense. Some of the patients in these stories are no longer with us. They, and their families, gave us permission to share their experience with you. For those who have since passed, we share these in their memories with deep appreciation for what they have taught us about life and living.
We met Nancy through her mother who was in our care at the Compassionate Care Center.
During a conversation with Nancy, one of our nurses, Teresa Dickson, learned that she felt sad that her mother wouldn’t be with her for her wedding in June.
Teresa immediately spoke with Heather Randall, a social worker, about Nancy’s situation. Together, they offered Nancy the opportunity to have her wedding at the Center.
When Teresa and Heather discussed the wedding idea with Nancy, they helped her understand that her mother, Connie, was declining quickly and that the wedding should take place the next day.
The Hospice Care Plus staff, immediately began reaching out to friends and supporters to help pull the wedding together.
We worried we wouldn’t find a wedding dress that quickly. But, as luck would have it, a staff member checked Facebook and found that a Mt. Vernon woman had a dress for sale in Nancy’s size. We contacted the woman (Mrs. Renée Oliver), and she very generously offered to donate the dress to Nancy. Mrs. Oliver later shared that her grandfather had been a patient at our Compassionate Care Center 10 years ago. When we met to pick up the dress from her, she said, “today would have been my grandfather’s birthday. You all finding my dress was just meant to be.” Amazingly, it was a perfect fit for Nancy and looked lovely on her. Many thanks to Mrs. Oliver!
Kroger Marketplace in Richmond is always so helpful to us. We contacted them to ask if their floral department might help us with a bouquet, and they donated a beautiful one, which included daisies, Nancy’s favorite flower.
Every bride should feel special and beautiful, and we wanted that for Nancy and her mother, even if we had only 24 hours to plan. Thankfully, a few key people donated their time and services quickly. Charm Todd at Perfect Touch Beauty Salon in Richmond donated hair styling for Nancy. Kylie Randall, daughter of social worker Heather Randall, donated makeup application. And Roni April, a former nurse at our Compassionate Care Center, saw a staff member’s Facebook post about needing bobby pins and used her lunch break at work to buy them and bring them to us.
Since we had to pull the wedding together so quickly, the families really didn’t have time to worry about returning home for clothing or purchasing special items. Amy Lasher, owner of Kid to Kid, donated ties and suspenders for the groom and the children, and Russell and Cynthia Cole donated a shirt for the groom.
We also wondered how to get a wedding-worthy cake quickly. Thankfully, Leah Dean Lowe with Chaos Confections Bakery came to the rescue. She donated a beautiful cake, decked out with the bride’s favorite flower: daisies.
Photographer Kat Wagers, owner of Kat Wayers Studios, was alerted to our Facebook post, in which we asked for help finding a professional photographer who might donate services on short notice. She agreed and came through with flying colors, spending a great deal of time taking and processing hundreds of photographs. We’re so grateful that Nancy has these beautiful photos to treasure.
Kelly Price Taylor, one of our volunteers and well-known in Madison County for her beautiful voice, sang a processional song for the bride and groom. Another Hospice Care Plus volunteer, Hee-Young Shin, sang the recessional in the same lovely voice she uses to sing to patients at the Center when she volunteers. Ruth Crutcher, who prepares meals for patients at the Center, also joined in.
Family members, guests, and Hospice Care Plus staff and volunteers watched as the bride and her father came through the doors of the Center’s family room to take their places in front of the mantle. With Denise Roberts McKinney, Hospice Care Plus chaplain, officiating and her mother in her bed next to them, the bride and groom were married.
Our chief medical director, Dr. Hanan Budeiri (known to all of us as Dr. B), donated refreshments for a reception.
Our thanks to the family for their willingness to share this moment with you. That willingness stems from their appreciation for your help, without which Nancy and her mother would not have been able to celebrate Nancy’s wedding together.
Nancy’s mother died peacefully the next morning, knowing her daughter treasured her enough to make sure she was present at such a key life milestone.
Hospice care is often like this: sadness at the loss or potential loss of a loved one, punctuated by moments of joy, affection, peace, compassion, and togetherness. Our thanks to everyone who helped make this possible.
How can you honor life during National Hospice & Palliative Care Month? Visit the #WeHonorLife campaign page to learn about all the ways you can help, from volunteering and shopping to helping us increase access to specialized care for the seriously ill and their families. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-986-1500 or visit our website.