“Is that Maw Maw,” Kingston Hilliard asked as Lacey Norwood,
a program assistant with
North Oaks Hospice, knelt to give him a better view of the painted lady butterfly perched
on top of its release envelope.
Much to his delight, the butterfly seemed to linger before fluttering away.
The butterfly release culminated a memorial service, hosted Aug. 18 by
North Oaks Hospice, to remember 89 former patients.
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 focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the
patient and emphasizes the importance of the patient’s quality of life.
“People around the world see butterflies as a symbol of endurance,
change, hope and life,” explains North Oaks Hospice Manager Courtney
Held in the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center on the
North Oaks Medical Center campus, the annual event is a special time for families to come together
through song, prayer, scripture, remembrance and fellowship, according
to Sr. June Engebrecht, bereavement counselor with North Oaks Hospice.
Along with the butterfly release, soloist Darick Selders sang “Amazing
Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away,” and Chaplain Tyrus
Wells and Bereavement Counselor Sr. June Engelbrecht of North Oaks Hospice
read from Psalm 23 and Ecclesiastes respectively. Engelbrecht also offered
words of encouragement by reading from the children’s book,
Waterbugs and Dragonflies, which was written by Doris Stickney to explain the transformative state
of death and dying to young children. Another highlight was the reading
of each patient’s name and presentation of framed photographs to
families of their loved ones by North Oaks Hospice Nurses Trenice Coleman
and Jane Frederick and Certified Nurse Assistants Carolyn Haynes and Elaine Varnado.
For the family of Margaret Dantzler, the ceremony was a time to celebrate
the life of their matriarch. Those in attendance included: one of her
three daughters, Betty Jones; two of her six grandchildren, Ikea Jones
Hilliard and A’Trey-U Jones with Berlashiya Ruffin; and three of
her 13 great-grandchildren, Heiress Hilliard, Kingston Hilliard and Adalee Jones.
She loved that her grandson, A’Trey-U Jones, was a defensive tackle
on the Louisiana State University football team. She delighted in going
to his games and was known for having a room in her home decorated in
purple and gold, as well as a liking for dressing in LSU’s colors.
“She was a great caregiver,” Betty Jones affirms. “Now
it’s up to us to continue her legacy of caring for others.”
After her diagnosis with terminal ovarian cancer, Dantzler chose to receive
care at home from North Oaks Hospice. It was a choice made without hesitation,
as the family had relied upon North Oaks Hospice twice before. The first
time was for Margaret’s mother-in-law, Fannie Dantzler, who succumbed
to Alzheimer’s in 2008 at the age of 92; and the second was for
Margaret’s husband of 47 years, Shelton Dantzler, who was lost to
prostate cancer in 2012 at the age of 67.
“With my grandmother and father, the North Oaks Hospice team served
them and us well – from managing not only their physical, spiritual
and emotional needs, but also ours,” Betty Jones adds. “There
were no ifs, ands or buts about bringing in North Oaks Hospice to care
for my mother and see us through her loss.”
Margaret Dantzler was a hospice patient for two months before her passing
on Nov. 20, 2017 at the age of 69.
“North Oaks Hospice has been great through it all,” Betty Jones affirms.
Although Margaret’s passing was more than nine months ago, the North
Oaks Hospice team continues to follow her family through the agency’s
bereavement program, which provides support for one year following each
patient’s passing. Engelbrecht makes routine calls on the family,
and group counseling and special events, like the memorial service and
memory tree during the holidays, also provide comfort.
“North Oaks Hospice offers so many resources,” Betty Jones
shares. “It greatly helps to know that the support is there.”
If you know someone coping with a terminal illness whom may benefit from
hospice care, call North Oaks Hospice at (985) 230-7620 for a complimentary
consultation with no obligation.
The North Oaks Hospice team enjoyed sharing remembrances of the late Margaret
Dantzler with her family at the annual Memorial Service held Aug. 18.
From left are: (first row) Trenice Coleman, Ikea Jones Hilliard, Heiress
Hilliard, Lacey Norwood, Kingston Hilliard, Betty Jones, Ty Wells, June
Engelbrecht, (second row) Berlashiya Ruffin, A'Trey-U Jones, Adalee
Jones, Jane Frederick, Courtney Ridgedell and Patrice Pellittieri.