Mary was 4 months short of her 100th birthday when she arrived. She was a great leader in the Hispanic community and was revered by everyone who met her. She was the matriarch of a large family that was appreciative of her for one reason or another. All they could say was “She was an incarnation of love and gave so much of herself to us and to the community."
Although the family was large, no one was available who could give her the 24-hour care she needed. She came to us from the nursing home with compression fractures and barely able to eat or drink. ABODE staff and volunteers fed and spiritually nourished the many family members that came by everyday to see her. Wonderful stories and memories of her life were shared and emotional support freely given and received. One evening, after several days of being non-responsive, Mary opened her eyes to the ABODE caregiver and said. “Heaven is so beautiful”! One night soon thereafter, the night Mary chose to go to Heaven, there were friends of ABODE visiting the home who wanted to sing Christmas carols. We asked the family, who were with her, if that would be a disturbance. They said, “No, please come sing outside her door.” Mary took her last breath just before we all began to sing all 3 verses of “Silent Night.” Maybe Mary knew that the singing would bring comfort to those she loved and had to leave behind.
Video by Love Made Me Do It Productions
Our first guest, Scotty came to us late one evening, his family already at the ABODE home, awaiting his arrival. Scotty, 36, had cerebral palsy since birth and now was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the liver, lungs and bones. His family was unable to provide the necessary care in their home, so hospice suggested ABODE where he would be cared for 24 hours a day.
Scotty had always loved sports and was involved in Special Olympics himself since grade school. He loved coaching, supporting others and he and his Dad spent some of their closest times watching sports on T.V.– that was their special time together.
Scotty was very independent, even with his handicap. He never wanted to be driven anywhere – he took the bus no matter how many transfers he had to take.
Scotty’s sense of humor was still very much intact. He had been unable to swallow for several days when he arrived, but quickly asked the caregivers, “So, who is going to order the pizza? Make mine pepperoni.”
Scotty’s Mom and Dad had very different requests for the hour of Scotty’s death. Mom requested that she be called no matter what time – she wanted to be there at his death. Dad had the opposite request – he said he had seen too much death in Vietnam and didn’t want to see his son die.
Scotty was only with us for 24 hours. The day after he arrived, his parents arrived early morning, Mom was in the room with Scotty and Dad was grieving deeply in the “Quiet Room.” Dad came out a few hours later and joined his wife at the bedside. It was that moment that Scotty chose to take his last breath – with his loving parents by his side.