A Letter from Ann
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.
In August 2020, as were struggling to take care of our patients and families—and each other—in the midst of a global pandemic, we realized it was time for an annual fundraising letter. This letter typically comes from someone whose loved one was cared for by one of our programs. But this time, one of our care teams said they had the most beautiful story unfolding with one of their patients, his caregiver, and their family. They thought the family would agree to share that story in the form of a letter. To spare the family from the work of writing the letter, the team simply interviewed Ann, the caregiver, about their special-wish wedding experience. Then, the team worked to put Ann’s words down in the form of a letter and video. Once Ann approved each, it was sent to our supporters and shared on social media. It ended up raising more than $20,000 to fund care and services.
Here are Ann’s words and video. Our thanks to Ann, Jerry, and family for allowing us to share their story.
This summer, in the middle of a pandemic and while my soon-to-be husband was receiving hospice care, I married the love of my life.
Jerry and I have been together for nearly 40 years. For most of them, we were married. Then came the divorce, which was more about circumstances than our feelings. Afterward, we stayed close. I’ve been his caregiver since November 2019, when Hospice Care Plus started caring for him in our home.
Hospice has kept him comfortable and at home all these months. Then, in July, Jerry said there was something special he wanted. Hospice always encourages Jerry to think about what’s important to him. Imagine my surprise when he said what he wanted most was for us to remarry!
When I told our hospice team, they sprang into action. I worried it would be hard to get the marriage license, because Jerry could only go to the courthouse by ambulance. But Junann, our hospice chaplain, said, “God makes a way out of no way.” She agreed to officiate. She worked with the courthouse to get the license. Stephanie, the hospice nurse, made sure Jerry felt up to the ceremony. And Kristy, our social worker, was busy with a few surprises.
We didn’t want them to go to any trouble. But, on our wedding day, Kristy came with a donated wedding cake and bouquets and boutonnieres she made herself. Junann brought a book she made for the ceremony so that Jerry, who can’t hear well, could read and follow along. She even wrote us a thank you note at the end, telling us this was her first wedding and thanking us for how special it was for her.
They brought refreshments and decorations. They made that day as special as Jerry wanted it to be. They gave our family memories we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives.
Junann made our ceremony a seated one, because it’s almost impossible for Jerry to stand. So, I was shocked when it came time for the kiss. Jerry struggled up from his chair, saying he wanted to stand up to kiss his bride. The hospice team took a picture and included it in a wedding album they made for us. That’s a memory I’ll hold close to my heart forever.
That’s what I want to share with you—that in the middle of a pandemic, this amazing hospice team still goes above and beyond to understand what a family needs to have hope and peace. Then, they get to work to make it possible.
Trust me when I say that families like ours aren’t sure what we would do without their compassion and care. This team has become part of our family.
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.