A Story of Compassionate Care

Many people are uncomfortable talking about the inevitability of death. When a loved one is seriously ill, it is natural to focus on the hope that medical services will preserve and extend life. However, once the patient and family have come to terms with the idea that a health condition is terminal, hospice services are available to help guide the family. Hospice care maintains the philosophy that death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it. GRMC established its Hospice Services in 1990 and has cared for more than 4,500 patients and their families since. Perhaps the best way to understand the vital and compassionate services provided by hospice staff and volunteers is to hear the stories of grateful family members. Long-time Seguinite Sharon Stollewerk shared her stories of both her mother and her father being patients of GRMC Hospice. Sharon is the Director of Faith Lutheran Preschool, where she also teaches a class of 4-year-olds. Sharon, her adult children and five grandchildren all consider family their No. 1 priority—a value that was instilled by Sharon’s parents, Marie and Basil Karm, during their 72 years of marriage.

The Right Kind of Support
Sharon confides that she was initially hesitant and scared about hospice care when her mother began to lose her battle with breast and bone cancer in 2017, but her reservations were quickly erased when she met the staff. “I cannot tell you how wonderful every single one of them were—so compassionate, loving and attentive to my mom’s needs.” She recalls that the nurses would stay with her throughout the days and nights to alleviate her pain and anxiety, to manage her medical needs, and to help Basil and the family through these last stages of life. She fondly remembers the nurses, chaplains and volunteers as angels who were always there, never rushing a visit, always providing a listening ear.

Care for a Broken Heart
After Marie’s passing, Basil was understandably anxious, stressed and very sad to have lost the love of his life. The hospice team continued to visit him, providing grief counseling and showing genuine concern for his well-being. Within the year, Basil began to show signs of dementia and physical demise, which Sharon attributes to his broken heart. Once it was apparent that he, too, was entering his final chapter in life, GRMC Hospice Services were again sought to help care for him. Sharon recalls that one day at Basil’s assisted living center, she overheard him tell his hospice nurse yet again about how he had met his wife decades earlier. She especially remembers how the nurse smiled and enjoyed the story as if it were the first time she had heard it, and how they sang a song together. That moment touched Sharon deeply. “It was the sweetest thing ever and is etched in my heart forever,” she says. GRMC Hospice Services provided the care, understanding, knowledge and assurance that Sharon’s family needed during these sad transitions. Working full time, it was difficult to provide the care and attention she knew her parents needed, and it eased her mind to know that each day her parents were in capable and compassionate hands. She also says that the candlelight memorial services sponsored by the hospice team are meaningful and wonderful ways to continue to honor and remember her parents and to connect with others who are similarly grieving their loved ones.

GRMC Hospice services provides compassionate end-of-life care. Learn more by visiting our Hospice Services page or by calling (830) 401 – 7561.