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People of Hospice are angels on earth

As we reflect on the recent passing of our beloved mother, we pause to contemplate how we become orphans, albeit aged ones. It is a difficult plight that our baby boomer contemporaries are now experiencing and can relate to. My two sisters, Sherrie and Mindy, and I are well past 50 and were fortunate to have had Mom with us through her 89th year -- 20 years longer than with our father. Though sad, we are at peace due to an incredible place called Hospice.

Our mother, Roz Posterman, was a human dynamo, an upbeat, positive, Pollyanna-type personality who never closed her door without first putting a smile on her face for the world to see. She was brilliant, warm, adventurous and community-minded. She was game for anything and ready to experience all that life offered her.

But this article is not being written as a tribute to her. Rather, it is a tribute to Hospice in Cheektowaga, where she resided during her last few months.

When Mom's health significantly began to fail, we three sisters set up 2 4/7 shifts in order to take care of her. But we soon realized that her care required more than we could handle. Hospice stepped in and made her last months not only bearable but comforting, taking much of the physical burden off of us.

We cannot begin to bestow the accolades required to honor those who work and volunteer at Hospice. From the Home Health Department, to the Hospice Intake Unit, to Hospice House, truer angels on earth do not exist. These people gave 200 percent -- always with a smile, a warm touch or a hug. They anticipated Mom's needs and gave her everything before it was asked for and treated her with the utmost respect, reducing her suffering and improving her quality of life. Their goal was not to cure her, but was palliative care, because we knew Mom's condition was incurable. They also treated us like family, offering snacks, beverages, comfort or just a shoulder to rest on.

Since Mom was no longer ambulatory, the employees took care of all of her personal hygiene and care from her bed. One of her aides would even wash, dry and curl Mom's hair and text us pictures. If Mom had some special food craving, the chef would whip it up or shop for the ingredients and produce it the next day. Volunteers were forever visiting Mom so that she was never alone. Even when Mom was sleeping, they would sit and comfort us.

Hospice staff always took our phone calls no matter what time of day, answering any questions we had. When it came time for a holiday, Hospice arranged for clergy and singers to come in with festive songs, holiday food and cheer.

Hospice also has a fully equipped family kitchen so if the residents or their family want to bake a special cake or meal, they are free to do so. Sweet-smelling baked goods were always being concocted by volunteers in that kitchen so that it smelled more like home than an institution.

We were thankful that Mom led a full life and we were blessed to have her as our mother because she was a great woman. We were also blessed to have met the people of Hospice. Mom was in so much pain and confusion toward the end of her life, but Hospice allowed her to live these last days with peace and dignity. Mom passed away serenely with her family around her within Hospice's comfort and grace. We can never say enough about these wonderful people. Perhaps this tribute will help educate the community on the level of love and care that exudes from Hospice. Saying thank you is not enough.

Janice Sinatra, who lives in Williamsville, is grateful for the wonderful care provided by the people of Hospice.

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