Archive for Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hospice workers help patients, family during holiday season

December 23, 2007


Susan Mozykowski loves Christmas - it's her favorite holiday because her home is filled with family and love.

Typically this time of year, she would be bustling about, telling stories about her Christmas tree ornaments, giving gifts and hosting a party for staff at the school she founded.

But not this year. She is bedridden because of an aggressive form of brain cancer. Hospice workers, family members and friends began helping Susan's husband, Richard, take care of her about two weeks ago.

"She loved to have company in for Christmas suppers," said her close friend, Virginia Conard. "She loved to decorate her home, and she loved to buy gifts during the whole year in preparation for Christmas."

As the holidays near, Richard said his main focus is Susan.

"Susan is very likely to die in the next couple of weeks," he said. "So, basically it is just simply to be here and comfort Susan. The more that we can be around to tend to her needs and to bring her as much happiness as possible, the better."

Alecia Robinson, community relations director of SouthernCare Inc. that is providing hospice service for Susan, said having a family member on hospice care during the holidays can be difficult.

Oftentimes, she said, family members can feel pressured to make their last Christmas the best one ever.

The Rev. Nate Rovenstine of Lawrence Wesleyan Church said in these situations, there can be a real temptation to fall into deep discouragement and depression when families can't carry on holiday traditions as they want.

"But I say this to people often in this situation whether it is during the holidays or not, 'From where you are, God has something for you to do and something for you to receive. I mean you can still pray, you can still encourage, you can still share family memories with people who are able to come, and people still want to minister to you. Life doesn't end even though you are in a different place.'"


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