reflections FALL 2018
Masonic Village Hospice
A Son’s Promise This son vowed to give his mother the fullest life possible. for hospice,” Craig said. “The first thing I thought was, ‘This is the end.’” However, Craig would soon realize he had valuable time left with his mother. Masonic Village Hospice gave him a new sense of freedom to exchange parts of his caregiver role to be the son that Phyllis always knew him to be.
“Right away, they made me feel more relaxed,” Craig said. “When they took over, I knew I had someone on my team. It was a beautiful relief. I didn’t have to worry about my mother in pain anymore.” Craig Dayton’s mother, Phyllis, was nicknamed “Shorty” for her slight 4-foot-11-inch stature. While she was small in size, she was big in heart and in bravery. For years, she battled one of the toughest diseases of which there is no cure: Alzheimer’s. While they were always great friends, Craig and his mother became even closer after Craig’s father died nearly 20 years ago and he became her caretaker. “Our roles reversed,” Craig said, “but I was happy to do it, and I would do it all over again.” After Phyllis was diagnosed, Craig wanted to give her the fullest life possible. “That’s what I promised her,” Craig says. They went on road trips and vacations. They continued to enjoy life’s more simple moments, as well. Craig took her to the movies, one of their favorite pastimes, and on walks. Most importantly, Craig wanted to
maintain his mother’s dignity. In the last four months of Phyllis’ life, she had trouble caring for herself. “Ever since I can remember, she took pride in looking nice,” Craig said. “I wanted to make sure she still did.” Each week, without fail, Craig would file and paint his mother’s finger nails her favorite shade of purple. When she could no longer visit her hair salon, he enlisted his sister’s help in dying her hair. As Phyllis’ disease progressed, Craig watched her become fearful and lose other important mental functions after suffering a fall from what doctors think was a mini stroke. He could no longer take her to the movies, as the darkness would scare her. She became fearful of the dentist and of daily activities like bathing, as she became unsure of what water was. “I can remember the exact day my mother’s nurse told me she qualified
Each of Craig’s concerns, worries or questions in the final weeks were answered by hospice staff. “I knew I could count on them,” Craig said. “They did everything in a prompt manner and valued everything I said.” Hospice didn’t have to inform Craig when his mother only had days left. He knew her all his life, and knew when it was time. A piano was placed in Phyllis’ room, and Craig, a musician, played for her for 17 hours one day, then 10 hours the next. Phyllis loved music, tap dancing and singing since she was a little girl. In the 1970s, her husband, also a music lover, formed a Big Band. Phyllis sang in the band, and Craig composed the music. He wanted to bring these memories back to her one last time. “I played for her until she let go of her time here on Earth,” he said, “and I knew she was happy.” In those two days, as Craig hardly left the room, hospice wheeled in a comfort
cart, full of pre-packaged snacks, microwaveable meals and drinks. “That simple cart meant so much to me,” Craig recalls. “I didn’t want to leave her side, even to eat or find a drink.” As Craig looks back on those final days, he’s also grateful that hospice gave him time to say goodbye. “They took care of her and her pain, but stepped away at the right time so I could be with her at the end,” Craig said. “I admire who they are and what they do. They have a certain spiritual grounding.” Since his mother’s passing in June 2017, Craig has been attending hospice’s bereavement support group meetings and was honored when staff filled a vase with his mother’s favorite flowers during one session in her memory.
Today, Craig keeps his mind busy and active with Pilates, aerobics, attending educational lectures and classes on various topics and composing music for short films. He has turned his passion for caregiving into volunteering with music therapy sessions in Masonic Village’s Masonic Health Care Center. His goal is to give seniors the same full, quality life his mother had. Like many others, Craig is hoping and waiting for a cure for Alzheimer’s. “I’ve seen what it does,” Craig says. “Having no family of my own, I miss my mom. I’m doing my best to chart out a new path for myself, but it takes time.”
“To families who are told their loved one is ready for hospice, I would say, ‘don’t be afraid,’” Craig says. “Feel lucky there is such a service available. They are there to help you.”
Letters of Love
You’ve helped my dad so much through his interesting journey and helped all of us cope with … and appreciate … every second of it. Your listening abilities, compassion and insight are tremendous gifts. Thanks for the comfort you’ve provided and for your help in showing us how we can help our dad (and each other) down this road. We don’t say it enough, but we are truly grateful for your support!”
The care you gave my husband was so very much appreciated. He looked forward to seeing you, and you provided help and comfort to us both in the last weeks. Without the services and caring of the whole hospice team, I’m not sure I would have made it this far.”
It is with my deepest gratitude that I would like to thank each and every one of you for the compassion, kindness, spiritual and loving care that you provided to my dear mother. You do not have an easy job, but God has given you a unique talent and skills, and you use them exceptionally well. I thank God every day for wonderful people like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
I wanted to thank all the people involved with my mother and me during this long journey between life and death. You are all truly angels on Earth. I came to depend on you for much encouragement.” -FAMILY MEMBER
Deb pictured with her daughter, Candi
Discovering a New Way of Life With the help of hospice, this mother is healing from loss. Before Deb Hower’s daughter could even walk, she dressed her in patent leather shoes that accompanied beautiful dresses. Candi was the light of Deb’s life, and she was always proud to show off her blond-haired little baby girl. As Candi grew older, the two became even closer, and the world became their oyster. They vacationed to Hawaii and Las Vegas. They attended big state fairs and small county carnivals. When they weren’t traveling, just being together was enough. Since it was just the two of them, Deb and Candi relied on each other for everything, sharing deep thoughts, precious memories and plenty of laughs. When Candi reached her mid-30s, she began experiencing stomach pain that soon became unbearable. After a few weeks of testing, at 39 years old, Candi was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. After surgery, doctors told Deb and Candi that treatment options were limited. However, they chose to fight, and Candi began intensive chemotherapy. “When I first learned what was making Candi sick, I just cried and cried,” Deb said. Her tears then turned into determination. She vowed to sit beside Candi during every treatment and doctor’s appointment. “We had a special bond,” Deb recalls.
One day, as Deb was driving Candi to one of her treatments, another car struck theirs. In what could have been a fatal accident, Deb suffered a broken femur, which has made her dependent on a wheelchair, and Candi an injured hip and broken neck. Both Deb and Candi underwent surgery for their injuries and began rehabilitation. Unfortunately, as Candi was rehabilitating, her cancer progressed, and a few months later, doctors informed Candi that her treatment options were exhausted, and it was time to focus on being comfortable. “When she told me she wanted to keep fighting, I said, ‘Candi, baby, it’s too late,’” Deb recalls. “It broke my heart. She just wanted to get better.” Little did they know, when Candi was referred to Masonic Village Hospice, some healing would begin. “I can remember how much Candi loved the hospice staff,” Deb said. “They were wonderful. They would talk to me and tell me everything I needed to know about Candi’s condition.” More than the medical guidance, Deb appreciated how hospice went above and beyond their call of duty in the last few months of Candi’s life.
“Candi was giggly, smiley and full of life,” Deb says. “Everyone enjoyed Candi, and the hospice staff weren’t any different.” Each Christmas morning, when Candi was a little girl, she would walk into a room full of gifts piled high. She was the type of person others wanted to spoil. When visiting, hospice staff would bring Candi slushies and glazed donuts, two of her favorite sweet treats. During the last few weeks of her fight, when Candi was confined to her bed, hospice bought her a hand-held gaming system to keep her entertained and her spirits up. In 2016, just after her 43rd birthday, Candi passed away. “I remember every moment of that day,” Deb recalls. “It was love at first sight when she was
born, and it was still love at last sight.” Deb has a photo of Candi by her bedside, which she says goodnight to every evening. She is still grieving her daughter, and knows the feelings she has won’t ever fade, as for a mother, there is no greater pain than losing a child. Deb has, however, found that doing simple things each day to celebrate her daughter’s memory is easing the pain. “I’ll be somewhere and think, ‘What would Candi say to this,’ or, ‘I bet Candi would think this was funny,’” Deb said. She wears jewelry that Candi made and keeps her other crafted pieces out where she can enjoy them. Deb’s most prized treasure is a necklace she had engraved with Candi’s fingerprint on it, which she wears every day.
visit Deb weekly, she’s learning the importance of self-care, focusing on the things she needs to do to heal. Staff take her out for meals and to get her nails done at the salon. They have become Deb’s friends and confidants as she discovers a new way of life.
Thanks to you, Deb is receiving the bereavement support she needs to continue healing and living her best life. With help from you and Masonic Village Hospice, she is celebrating her daughter’s memory.
With the help of hospice staff who
Give the Gift of Hope Will you consider making a year-end gift to Masonic Village Hospice? You can provide hope to patients facing terminal illnesses and their families. Your gift gives quality end-of-life medical care to patients, regardless of their financial means, and bereavement services to healing families. No gift is too small to make a difference. Change a life today by completing and returning the enclosed envelope along with your gift.
Veteran Volunteers Impact the Lives of Patients To truly understand someone, you must walk a mile in their shoes. This is why Masonic Village Hospice has begun pairing patients who are veterans with veteran volunteers. Some veterans near the end of life face challenges including post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. In addition, they can face health setbacks from their time of service, including chronic pain, presumptive diseases that are associated with exposure to wartime chemicals and traumatic brain injuries from accidents, falls and explosive devices. Veteran volunteers have the unique ability to relate and connect with these patients, encouraging an environment where life reflection and healing may take place. “In a lot of cases, our veteran patients want to bring closure to their experiences, but have trouble opening up,” Kristin Thomas, hospice support 6
services coordinator, says. “The primary goal of hospice is to ensure these patients’ remaining time is spent living to the fullest, and no one understands the feelings and needs of a veteran better than a veteran. Due to shared experiences, they can build a bond that brings peace to the patient.”
a special reading, a pinning and the presentation of a certificate and a handmade red, white and blue fleece blanket to the patient. These are moments of recognition and validation for veteran patients that come after a long life of internal strife for some.
Many veterans don’t consider what they did to be heroic. They believe they simply did what they were asked to do for their country. However, hospice feels it’s important to honor these veterans, who have lived so selflessly, at the end of life.
“I’m 93 years old, and I’m just so happy to be able to walk around and help people,” Herb said. “As a veteran, when talking to another veteran, you always know where to start the conversation.” Larry agrees. “These patients deserve this,” he says. “I always tell them it is my honor and privilege.”
Volunteers (pictured) Herb Ridyard, a World War II Army veteran, and Larry Wolford, retired from 30 years in the Navy, conduct ceremonies in uniform for fellow servicemen and women receiving hospice care. The two have conducted well over 300 ceremonies since 2014. The ceremonies include
If you’re a veteran, or currently serving, and are interested in improving the final days of another veteran’s life, contact Masonic Village Hospice’s Volunteer Services at 717-367-1121, ext. 33024. Volunteer hours are flexible, and any amount of time you can give will truly make a difference.
Thanks to Our Donors Memorials
Memorials and honors received May 1 - July 31 MEMORIAL William B. Anderson James (Jim) M. Bell Lionel (Casey) E. Bostdorf Edward C. Carty Paul E. Clark John Vincent Dietz, Jr. Mary S. Frey Sylvia D. Glick Regina R. Grow Joan H. Hall Robert M. Hess Max Hoffman June B. Jarrett Francis E. Kinter Thelma M. Kinter
DONOR Camilla Anderson Robert and Marilyn Forney Donald and Joanne Kaiser Sherri Shirk Bob and Mary Grogan Lancaster Chapter NCHA/FCRV Club Barbara Becker Juniper Village at Mount Joy John and Linda Murray David and Kelly Nissly Rick and Donna Schoenberger Mr. and Mrs. James Scott and Sons Mr. and Mrs. Richard Scott Clarence and Beverly Wenger Foresters of America Court Susquehanna No. 235 Dennis and Mary Louise Jennings Kenneth and Margaret Stoppard Ken and Joanna (Frey) Good Calvin and Diane Ewell Tracy Perillo June Pride William Hall Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. Iris Hoffman Will and Pam Wallace Roger and Stephanie Traub Roger and Stephanie Traub
Carla Menchey Doris Ober Anita L. Pence Jean E. Reidenbaugh Phyllis G. Singer Joan Ellis Stein Chester J. Urban S. Joan Williams Joan R. Witmer
Honors HONOR All Staff on BF2
Linda Heefner Gladys Hiltz Nancy Shaffer Albert Jochen David and Jeannette Thomas Jane Garman William and Carolyn Gaiski Lois Cox Barbara Rupley Juniper Village at Mount Joy Margaret Raid Skip and Charlotte Brown Robert and Marilyn Forney Noble and Althea Johnson Elaine and Allison Mayhew Robert and Sandra O’Neal Jim and Grace Robertson John Slifka Donald and Rose Marie Thompson Keith Witmer
DONOR Family of Kathryn L. Gerlach
To our generous donors, thank you for believing in Masonic Village Hospice’s mission. You have made a difference in the lives of patients!
MASONIC VILLAGE HOSPICE One Masonic Drive • Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2219 717-367-1121, ext. 18449 • MasonicVillages.org/care-support/hospice
Who We Are Since 2009, Masonic Village’s trained, compassionate hospice staff have cared for thousands of patients and their families, focusing on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients so they may complete their lives joyfully. Our hospice staff promote comfort and self-determination, enabling patients to participate in making decisions about their care. Based in Elizabethtown, Masonic Village Hospice is pleased to offer services to patients in the comfort of their homes throughout Lancaster, Dauphin, Lebanon and Eastern York counties.
Open for Everyone. Masonic Village Hospice does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, ancestry, national origin, familial status, age, sex, limited English proficiency (LEP) or any other protected status in admission, treatment or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment.