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These are the stories of people who have witnessed the power of hospice care to comfort, restore dignity and bring peace. In 2010, Hospice of Michigan is recording one story each week for 52 weeks. Listen to one, or listen to them all. Just press the “listen” icon on the player. To share a story, use the “share” link. To support our mission, click on “donate.” Most people do not know about hospice until someone they love becomes ill.

STORIES   1-4   |   5-8   |    9-12   |   13-16   |   17-20   |   21-24   |   25-28   |   29-32   |   33-36   |   37-40   |   41-44   |   45-48   |   49-52  

Story 1

"My Father’s House"

Honoring a mother’s wish to live her life until the end, in the house her husband built.

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Story 2

"My Sister"

When a mother asks to leave the hospital to die at home, hospice helps a sister overcome her fears.

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Story 3

"John's Eyes"

A volunteer helps smooth the way for a hospice patient who cannot speak and a family searching for something to say.

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Story 4

"My Grief"

A grieving daughter learns about the unpredictability of grief, and how to live with the loss of her father.

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Story 5

"The Policeman"

A policeman calls on Hospice of Michigan to help his mother when she is diagnosed with cancer, and later becomes a social worker for Hospice of Michigan.

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Story 6

"The Nurse"

A young nurse working in a hospital learns about the importance of hospice care for people with terminal illnesses.

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Story 7

"My Wife"

Married more than 40 years, a husband tells how hospice care improved daily life for his wife and for him.

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Story 8

"Hospice Heroes"

A son tells about the joy and comfort that hospice aides gave to his mother during her last months in an assisted living center.

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Story 9

"The Bills"

A supporter explains that he donates to Hospice of Michigan to ensure that people have peace and dignity at the end of life even when they do not have the ability to pay for care.

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"Hanging On"

Story 10

 

A hospice nurse recalls a patient who desperately wanted to "hang on" until his son and daughter had a chance to say goodbye.

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Story 11

"The Boss"

A grandson comes to realize that hospice helped him as much as they helped his dying grandfather.

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Story 12

"Grand Ole Opry"

A patient who loved country music was too weak to go to the Grand Ole Opry, so her family brought the Opry to her. It was "the best birthday party she ever had."

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Story 13

"Sigh of Relief"

A granddaughter is grateful that her family was relieved by a visit from a hospice nurse.

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Story 14

"St. Jude"

A hospice spiritual care advisor recalls his first patient, a recovering alcoholic, who maintained his optimism even though he was "on the last train out of here."

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Story 15

"Molly"

A hospice volunteer reflects on Molly, a highly organized woman who chose to write her own obituary.

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Story 16

"Nora"

A hospice volunteer at an assisted living facility takes her friend, Nora, on a shopping trip.

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Story 17

"Helping Joe"

Joe didn't want any help from the social worker while his wife was dying. He later learned the value of professional help.

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Story 18

"Sprinkles from Heaven"

A family looks for "sprinkles from Heaven," and finds them when the hospice team arrived.

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Story 19

"Five-Year-Old"

Born with a congenital heart defect, a little boy gets to spend his last seven months acting like other boys his age, thanks to the pediatric hospice team.

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Story 20

"Elizabeth's Bouquets"

A 4-year-old girl's fondness for flowers is given a lasting tribute in the form of notecards created by the hospice staff.

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Story 21

"Mark"

Mark wanted to spend his remaining days at home with his family, but he was worried about the cost.

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Story 22

"A Normal Day"

A dying mom just wanted "a normal day" for her children. Thanks to the resourcefulness of a hospice nurse and the generosity of her neighborhood theater and restaurant, she got what she wanted.

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Story 23

"Going Crazy"

A Hospice Grief Support Counselor relates her experience with one individual who felt she was "going crazy" because she still wasn't over the loss of her mother, even though three months had passed. She reminded her that "grief has its own way, and there's no rushing it."

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Story 24

"Holding Hands"

"You're such a nice lady… why do you keep coming back?" A lovely sentiment for most people, but crushing words when they come from your mother, who is suffering from dementia.

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Story 25

"Staying Home"

She wanted to spend her last months at home. When that was no longer possible, her friend invited her into her home. Hospice of Michigan brought the rest.

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Story 26

"Tall Ships"

On the first day of summer, 52 people boarded the Tall Ship Manitou for an evening sail. This was a special journey, because all the passengers shared a common bond: grief. They learned that nature has the power to heal.

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Story 27

"The Picture Says it All"

The patient longed for the comfort of home: his family, his own sheets … and his dog. A favorite photograph was proof that he got his wish.

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Story 28

"Beach Town"

For 50 years, the lakefront cabin in northern Michigan embodied all that was good about summer. A grandson recalls how his grandfather, who never felt more alive than when he was "up north" with his family, wanted to spend his last days at the cabin. Hospice of Michigan 's northern team provided the comfort he needed to fulfill his wishes.

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Story 29

"Traverse City Cherries"

When a Hospice volunteer brought a bag of Traverse City cherries to his 90-year-old patient, she declared them "a revelation." That experience proved to be a revelation for him too.

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Story 30

"Dance the Night Away"

A 14-year-old patient asked for an early Sweet Sixteen party. With help from a Hospice of Michigan social worker, she and her five sisters were given celebrity treatment. Right down to the flash photography and stretch limousine.

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Story 31

"Kites"

More "young-at-heart" than young, a group shares the experience of kite flying to give voice—and in some cases, release—their memories of loved ones.

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Story 32

"A Better Ending"

Nine months of caring for her dying husband takes its toll on his spouse, who ultimately landed in the hospital. Their daughter believed her parents deserved a "better ending."

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Story 33

"Sacred Space"

A hospital physician called Hospice of Michigan with a special request: help his hospital’s ICU nurses restore their compassion for dying patients and their families. “Death is not routine for the dying,” he said.

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Story 34

"Mickey Medicine"

The facility staff always brightened when they were around Mickey. He liked a lively conversation, ice cream, and especially Frank Sinatra. When they checked on him, he never failed to lift their spirits. They called it "Mickey medicine."

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Story 35

"Prayer"

A volunteer for Hospice of Michigan hopes she will experience an "aha!" moment, that special connection that occurs when a volunteer knows he or she has helped a patient.

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Story 36

"Highway of Legends"

Ron's last wish was to ride his bike on Colorado's famous Highway of Legends. When Matt, a hospice volunteer, learned Ron's cancer was too far advanced for him to travel, Matt grabbed his video camera, flew to Colorado and took the Highway to Ron. At the surprise screening, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

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Story 37

"Scrabble"

With a prognosis of four months, one woman decides to die as she lived: in control, without waisting a minute of what life has to offer.

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Story 38

"Fire Department"

When a patient's wife crumpled under her husband's 190-lb frame, she resisted the urge to get help. She finally called the fire department to help get her husband back into bed. And then she called Hospice of Michigan.

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Story 39

"Cartoon Characters"

8-year-old Megan could always make Annabelle smile. Because she knew her 4-year-old sister loved bandages with cartoon characters on them, she would pull one out any time Annabelle’s spirits flagged.

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Story 40

"Dreams"

A hospice experience proved to be a transforming experience for a woman whose husband lost his battle with cancer. She is now celebrating her 10th year as a hospice volunteer.

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Story 41

"Handstands"

Photographs of his sister doing handstands at the beach evoke warm memories of Grandpa. No one suspected their grandfather was about to receive a diagnosis that would change their lives.

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Story 42

"In Charge"

Few people feel more equipped to care for a family member than a hospital nurse, especially when there is an abundance of family support. But there comes a time when hospice needs to be called.

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Story 43

"Lights On"

Good care — and compassion — are a powerful combination. They can extend life…and bring peace.

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Story 44

"Getting Lost"

A man who was known for being organized struggles to control his anger when he finds himself confused by the simplest tasks. The hospice medical team was able to relieve his agitation while a social worker helped the family understand the emotional dynamics of advanced dementia.

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Story 44

"Caregivers Need Help"

As a caregiver, the daughter of elderly parents comes to appreciate the help Hospice of Michigan provided her family. Now she wants to spread the word.

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Story 45

"Having Faith"

A hospice nurse assures families that relying on hospice doesn't mean giving up hope. Or giving up their faith in miracles.

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Story 46

"Sleeping on the Floor"

Even the most tireless caregivers need a helping hand. And occasionally — a good night's sleep.

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Story 47

"Being Heard"

One of the unique aspects of Hospice care is the way it addresses the less tangible aspects of an individual's health. Sometimes, simply listening to their concerns and offering assurance is what is most needed.

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Story 48

"Hallelujah"

As is often the case at the end of life, the burden on the caregiver can build to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes a visit from a spiritual care advisor can yield surprising benefits.

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Story 49

"Angels"

The undecorated tree in the living room stood as a symbol that this Christmas would be different. But a suggestion from a hospice aide showed that "different" isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Story 50

"Larry's Story"

One of Hospice of Michigan's best ambassadors was a guy who couldn't seem to pronounce the word "hospice." Nevertheless, a lot of people got the message.

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