My papa passed away on January 30th. My mom was committed to caring for him at home and with the help of a wonderful hospice team was able to do so. My baby sister and I were at the house in Daddy's last days, helping Mom and spending as much time as we could with Dad. He was never alone. At least one of us was always with him. The night he died we were all in his room. Mom prayed with him. We sang his favorite hymns. My brother-in-law read some poems he'd written for Dad. We wept, we laughed, we told Daddy over and over that it was okay for him to go, that we loved him, that we would be all right. And very early in the morning he slipped away.
It was an amazing, rich experience. I often thought that this is how all of us should be able to go out - having lived a rich, full life, surrounded by people who love us. I was so thankful that both my sister and I live nearby, enabling us to share in those last precious days.
That's when it hit me. I talk all the time about how Fisher House allows families to be with their ill or injured loved one and how important that is for the patient and the family.I have known what that looks like, seen thousands of families able to do just that. But for the first time I got to feel what it's like; to know how much comfort it brought to both Dad and Mom to have us there. And to experience first hand the peace of knowing that I was there for my Dad as he had been there for me all through my life. I'm grateful I could be there. And I'm more grateful than ever that Fisher House exists to offer that exact same gift to other families.