Today is the 25th anniversary celebration for Spencer Hospice. While I have recently learned a lot about hospice in Spencer, the service is not new to me.
Hospice was there for my family as my grandfather Milton Licht was preparing to leave this earth, 13 years ago. I say preparing because grandpa knew the end was coming and, if he was going to go, he wanted to have as much control as possible over the days leading up to that departure.
That's how grandpa was. He was stubborn, but not selfish. He did not want his family to worry about him, and he did not want to burden us with anything as he left.
For that reason, my siblings and I did not know of grandpa's cancer until the end was imminent. It wasn't because we didn't understand the severity of the situation. We had seen loved ones fall victim to cancer before. Grandpa did not want us to see his struggle. To this day, I remember his strength and resolve.
But, there came a day when a decision had to be made. Where would he be when the end came?
I don't know exactly how the decision was made, but I know a lot of thought, consideration and conversation went into it. Ultimately, it was decided grandpa would live out his final moments under the care of Trinity Hospice at the hospital.
Honestly, I don't remember much about the experience. I do remember going to the hospital on at least one occasion. While all the other rooms had a certain degree of dreariness, grandpa's room had a homey feeling to it.
The care he received there was very personal. Staff worked with my family through the bereavement process.
I remember being picked up from school the day grandpa passed. When I heard the news, I bawled my eyes out, and yet I had a sense of peace.
We had been given time to prepare and I was assured that grandpa had gone on to another life, a better place, where I'd be able to see him again.
I was also assured that grandpa had gone peacefully, largely due to the work of hospice. From the professional hospital staff and counselors to the volunteers and chaplains, he had been in good hands and made comfortable.
That comfort and calm positively affected all of us and it is something that sticks in my heart and mind.
In light of Spencer's celebration, I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone everywhere who has made hospice a part of their lives.
Please be assured you are making a real difference in people's lives.
I pray that God blesses you, just as you have blessed others.