Sometimes we look back and wonder how we made it through a very tough time. My family is grateful to Hospice of Lansing for their help. And because you support their work, we have you to thank as well.
We are sharing our story with you because our lives have been touched by their kindness. Please join us in making a gift to Hospice of Lansing to help them continue their good work or to remember someone very special to you.
We sat vigil by my dad’s bed at the assisted living. It was hard to believe that just yesterday he was acting normally. However, we should not have been surprised because our parent’s hospice journey was full of unexpected events.
My parents got married when they were both 19 years old. Dad worked at Fisher Body and did income taxes on the side. It took him 10 years to get his college degree in business, paying for it himself and taking one class at a time. Dad loved the outdoors and riding his bicycle. He adored his grandchildren.
Mom quit nursing school to raise us. She went back after we were grown and completed her degree at age 45. She worked at Jackson Prison as a nurse for 13 years before her retirement. Mom was never one to shy away from hard work and could often be found working in the garden or even splitting wood!
Dad started hospice care after a recommendation from Dr. LaBerge, his family doctor. We noticed he was becoming more forgetful and was struggling to find his words. Mom disagreed and said dad was “fine”. Our family has a lot of people in the medical field with three Registered Nurses (mom & two sisters), but it was still difficult to be objective about dad because we loved him so much.
The hospice nurse began coming to the house. She was wonderful and always seemed to be one step ahead of us; recommending new medications or equipment to help dad with his symptoms. The hospice aide would give him a shower and he loved the visits from the massage therapist too. We were grateful for the extra help.
When Dad began falling a lot and was also found outside wandering, we knew that we could not ignore the signs any longer or listen to mom’s opinion. His safety was at risk. Something had to change. We found an assisted living near their home and dad moved in. Mom was planning to visit him every day.
It was a huge change for everyone. Thank goodness we had help from hospice! The same hospice team who took care of him at home continued to care for him in the facility. It was reassuring to read the notes they left in the notebook beside his bed. Mom, true to her word, was by his side every day.
Unfortunately, the change in Mom and Dad’s living situation had upset their carefully balanced apple cart, so to speak. One day, we a got a call from the facility. They said mom was crying and confused and was seen driving erratically. After a visit to her doctor we were told that she had some form of dementia as well.
It was another tough situation our family had to face. They were miserable apart, so we moved mom into the same room with dad at the facility and she started receiving hospice care as well. Again, we were grateful for the support and hoped that everything would work out for the best.
Dad passed away in September of 2018. Losing him was hard on everyone, but it really took a toll on mom. Her confusion escalated. She started looking for him everywhere and would burst into tears when she was told he was dead. It broke our hearts every time it happened because we missed dad too.
Mom loved music and Hospice of Lansing began sending their music therapist to visit her. They usually sang hymns together. One day in December, we heard the two of them singing Christmas carols. It was beautiful. The sessions with the music therapist gave our family time to share childhood memories and during these precious few moments we had our mom back.
Mom passed away in December of 2018 just three months after dad. Theirs was truly a love story as she never stopped asking for him or looking for him. Now they are together forever.
Honestly, we were impressed by the care and yes, the love, that hospice gave to our parents and us. There were so many twists and turns, falls and medication changes but through it all, they kept us informed and gave us options so we could make the best choices possible for them.
People come into your life for a reason. We are very thankful that Hospice of Lansing came into our lives to help us during one of the toughest times we have ever faced as a family.
Now we truly understand why hospice care is essential care. Please join us and make your gift to Hospice of Lansing today!
The Finger Family
Kristine Finger, RN
Kimberly Zapor, RN
Robert Finger, III