With the creation of hospice, our society took a step forward.
Hospice changed the way we look at death. It allowed us to die with dignity, and, just as importantly, to mourn with dignity.
What people who have never gone through hospice with a loved one may not understand is that the program is as much for the living, as it is for the dying.
As one person lies on the bed, physically dying, members of the family are often dying in another way.
This week, RTA Hospice and Palliative Care invited the Payson Roundup to spend the next few weeks with Tom Bartlett and his wife, Geraldine, during the last stage of his life.
Teresa McQuerrey and Jason Pettifield will spend those weeks with Tom, his wife and his caregivers from hospice, listening, watching and hoping to come to an understanding of the support that is available to the dying and their loved ones. And through that listening, we hope to share with our readers how much that support truly helps.
Because of the services RTA Hospice provides, Tom Bartlett can die in his own home with his wife nearby.
Hospice stresses quality of life, to the very end. They do everything they can to offer peace, comfort and dignity in death and, nationally, are leading the charge for social change to improve end-of-life care with those principles in mind.
Dying is never easy, but there are people in this community who are devoted to making it as painless as possible. Nurses wash away the pain, not just medically, but by providing spiritual and emotional support.
Anyone who has experienced hospice in Payson knows that the nurses and support staff are a special breed. They have a deep compassion and their job is a life's work. It is a mission. It is a gift.
As we write over the next few weeks about hospice, we will show you the different stages of the program, from the day when the nurse first stands by the dying man's bedside, to the counseling offered to his wife after his passing.
Death is a stressful time for everyone. Family dynamics rise to the surface and emotions erode boundaries. Hospice provides grief counseling to help loved ones understand the loss they are facing. Often, that counseling keeps a family from imploding under the pressure.
We are so grateful to RTA Hospice and to the Bartletts for allowing us to be with them at this fragile, intimate and vulnerable time. And we hope to use this opportunity wisely, to use it as a journey of understanding and to shed a light on something beautiful in our community.