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.
Jeannie Strong is a talented and creative woman with a heart for service. She helped her husband, former Richmond, Ky., Mayor Bill Strong, serve his community for decades as a city commissioner, a magistrate, and mayor. In her life away from public service, she put her creativity to work.
Jeannie’s creative touch extends to nearly everything around her: growing flowers and vegetables, upholstery, sewing, and endless crafts.
Her walls are draped with aprons she made from vintage material. She has steamer trunks
filled with pictures of blue ribbons she’s won at the Madison County Fair over the years.
So, nine months ago, when she was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer and given a prognosis of one year to live, Jeannie responded in typical fashion. She wanted to work through it with her hands—to put them to use on a special project.
Jeannie’s immediate wish was to make every single person in her family a Christmas stocking before she dies.
When she came to Hospice Care Plus, the team saw right away that this project was very important to her. They saw the beautiful fabrics Jeannie was working with to make the stockings: burlap, ribbons, even an old mink stole that belonged to her mother. But they also knew that it was about much more than fabric, or even the stockings themselves.
Jeannie Strong was working on her legacy.
The hospice team knew its job was to make sure Jeannie continued to feel well enough to finish the project. So, together, they dealt with pain and symptom management so Jeannie could continue sewing stockings.
Every day, Jeannie walked down her narrow basement stairs and made more progress. She was admitted to Hospice Care Plus in October. By January, Jeannie was finished with every last one.
But, she wasn’t done yet. Her next project is a quilt for her newest great-grandchild.
When that’s finished and Jeannie turns to her next project, we’ll be by her side the whole way, making sure she feels as well as she can for as long as possible. Because, as hospice care staff, we know that fine-tuning one’s legacy is a top wish for patients. We also know that, in order for peace and quality of life to truly win the day, those wishes must be met.
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.