When Harriet Cope was diagnosed with a terminal disease, she and her husband
Jerry resisted the idea of calling
North Oaks Hospice.
But, after her condition became more critical, friends and neighbors persuaded
the Copes that the hospice team could provide the care and support they
needed to carry them through the challenging times ahead.
“It was the best decision,” Cope explained. “They talked
with me, prayed with us and gave us the inspiration and help we needed.”
Hospice is a special kind of care given in the home that provides support
in a sensitive manner for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The North
Oaks team of professionals focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual
needs of the patient and emphasizes the importance of the patient’s
quality of life.
Cope, along with close friends, Gail Glorioso and Laura and Roy LaCoste
Jr., shared memories of Harriet at the Annual North Oaks Hospice Memorial
Service on Oct. 22. The event, held in the
E. Brent Dufreche Conference Centeron the
Medical Center campus, honored 88 patients and their families.
“Hospice was a God’s send for us,” noted Laura LaCoste,
explaining how hospice team members were always available to answer questions
and provide comfort or direction when called upon.
Glorioso agreed. She recalled how North Oaks Hospice sustained her during
the final days of both her husband and father.
“My husband passed away in 2013 and hospice provided encouragement
for us for 6½ months,” she added. “And they were there
for my father when he passed away 20 years ago.”
The Memorial Service is a special time for families to come together and
share. It is a vital component of the North Oaks Hospice Bereavement Program,
which offers support to family members and caregivers for one year following
the patient’s passing.
Chaplain Tyrus Wells welcomed the group, acknowledging that hospice team
members developed warm relationships with them, as well as their families.
“Thank you for letting us become part of your lives because you have
become a part of ours,” he disclosed.
A highlight of the service was a video presentation, “Invincible
Summer,” written and produced by Dr. James E. Miller. The video
compares the grieving process to seasons, beginning with shock, then pain,
comfort and finally healing. This pattern of grieving binds individuals
together, and it is “through hurting that we are healed,”
according to the video.
“Our grief has its seasons,” Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator
Sister June Engelbrecht told the group. “Eventually the bleakness
of winter gives way to the light of spring.”
Derek Selders sang emotional pieces, conjuring memories of those who have
passed and evoking tears from many of those in attendance. Hospice team
members called the names of each late patient as loved ones were presented
with framed keepsake photos with a specially designed mat. Fellowship
and refreshments followed the program.
If you know someone coping with a terminal illness that may benefit from
hospice care, call the North Oaks Hospice office at (985) 230-7620 for
a complimentary consultation with no obligation.