At 20 years old almost no one thinks about death. However, for some reason after the age of 35, most of us begin to get apprehensive with this concept, perhaps because we have already experienced parenthood and immediately the wellbeing of our children and their safekeeping begins to take priority in our life planning.
It was precisely during that period of my life that I got acquainted with a wonderful organization that has provided me with a new perception of life. God´s will through my life circumstances brought me to this experience. In 2001, I was offered a position at the Public Relations and Events department of Catholic Hospice. At that moment I was in need of employment, but the fact of having the opportunity to work for a Catholic organization, made the different in my decision to accept the challenge.
At the beginning I was focused completely on being austerely professional regarding my job, but it was not until months after, during my grandfather’s terminal illness and passing that I identified myself with the mission of Catholic Hospice. Since then I have grown to love and give my upmost personal and professional dedication to this unique mission.
My mother as an only child had to make the difficult decision after the death of my grandmother to place her elderly father in a nursing home. Like many families, ours tried to keep our loved one in the family household and care for him ourselves, but it was financially impossible, much less with advanced Alzheimer's disease.
Shortly after entering the St Anne’s Nursing Center, it became completely evident to us that the disease was wearing my grandfather and the reunification with my grandmother in heaven was imminent. The doctor then recommended, in conjunction with the care of St Anne’s, the care of Catholic Hospice for him in order to give relief to my mother and the rest of the family. Since my work at Catholic Hospices was entirely focused towards the outside, the community, it was not until this moment that I discovered the true work of dedication, service, compassion and professionalism of the Catholic Hospice patient program.
Hospice care is precisely this; we specialize in meeting the needs and fulfilling the aspirations of the patient and family when life is ending. The focus of Catholic Hospice is in the quality of life.
It is very difficult to see a loved one in the final stages of their life. You may quickly notice physical changes such as loss of appetite and mobility, changes in mood or their emotional status. That's when we need a helping hand and support, someone to help us deal with our own emotions and conflicts. That is precisely when we wonder if we are making the right decisions and need a helping hand, a caring touch from the experts.
Catholic Hospice provides relief with medicines to control physical pain, offers crucial home assistance to provide care such as bathing the patient and assist in daily activities, but more important is the spiritual and emotional support through counseling and following the religious traditions of each family, whether Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, under the L'chaim program.
It is definitely not easy to understand this concept, especially for Hispanic families in our community, who often see the hospice as a prelude to death. However, once they experience the dedication, compassion and support of the Catholic Hospice program they understand and profoundly appreciate the value and the impact it can have on a patient and his whole family, near the end.
I am a proud member of Catholic Hospice. I have grown to love and give my upmost personal and professional dedication to a unique mission.