This is a story of strength, love, power, and choice. It's the story of a family that everyone fell in love with, everywhere they went. It's the story of the Hughes family and their journey through care at Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions, one they generously want to share with others.
When faced with her diagnosis, Lois, who we came to know as a pillar of strength and compassion, knew what she did and didn't want. "I didn't want to prolong what isn't quality of life. This is my choice," she told us. It was her journey to take the way she wanted, and she said her decision to enter Hospice care was a decision of peace. That's a word she used often.
Her loving husband Harv told us it was important to Lois to surround herself with family and friends. Traditions were carried on in our Kloefkorn Hospice home, with gatherings over food and games, laughter spilling into the halls as they welcomed visitors and told stories.
"I think it was especially important for Lois to have that," said Harv, "because that kind of clued her in how I was doing, and that was always a worry of hers, and of course we worried about each other."
We fell in love with that family, a little bit. Maybe more. And we are pretty sure it went both ways.
Harv believes the people are the heart of Central Wyoming Hospice "Because of what you ladies, the whole staff, has made of it," he told us. "It's made up of you people, that's what this place is, and without you, it's nothing. Their whole objective is to keep people comfortable, that's the thing they do, and God bless 'em for that. There's nothing more important as far as I'm concerned."
Harv believes it's important that people learn and understand about Hospice care, even before they need it. "There's not a finer bunch of people on earth than the people at Hospice," he said. "They not only know how to take care of people, but they do it, and that's quite amazing. I think that's a beautiful thing."
When you meet Lois's daughter Marnie, you immediately see her mother's strength mirrored in her-the way she talks, the way she carries herself, the way she takes care of business.
Lois's daughter Marnie sent us this story.
"I will start by saying that I'm eternally grateful for every Hospice team member that our family came in contact with during the 3.5 months of time your team took care of my mom. Every person provided love and compassion for my mom through conversations, a hug, or the simple squeeze of her hand every day. My mom spoke so fondly of each of you and found so much comfort after making the choice to enter hospice care.
There is one moment that will likely never escape my mind. My mom had started to decline rapidly on September 27th. The RN that came on duty that evening was Darci. I still struggle to remember everything about that day and night. But the memory that never seems to leave me is the last 15 minutes of my mom's life.
When Darci came in the room at about 11:45 pm, I was the only one in the room with my mom. Darci took the time to ask me how I was doing or if I needed anything. Then, she addressed my mom as 'Miss Lois' and spoke quietly and calmly to my mom. In those final moments as my mom was leaving this world, Darci continued to hold my mom's hand or keep a hand on her arm and speak quietly to her. I'm not sure what I was expecting in those final minutes, but as I began to fall apart, Darci was supportive of me as well and checking on how I was doing.
While this moment may not be a happy memory, I consider it a deeply personal moment that I'm grateful to have had Darci with my mom and I. In the moments after 12:01am on September 28th, I couldn't let go of my mom's hand and was inconsolable. Darci remained in the room and had a hand on my shoulder. Once our family members arrived and had their time with my mom, Darci was so compassionate and helped us to get through the steps of working with the funeral home pick-up and the final goodbye.
Thank you Darci. I think of you often and feel so grateful you were by mine and my mom's side.
The night of Lois's death, hundreds of people were gathered at an event to support Central Wyoming Hospice. The program included a video, shown for the first time, telling the moving story of Lois and Harv and their family.
As the people watched that story unfold, they all fell in love a little bit, too.
"It's a sad thing that I had to give Lois up," Harv told us quietly, "but I don't see how I could have done it any nicer than the way it was done. I just think the nurses, the staff, every bit of this place is just, it should be spelled "L..O..V..E" because it is. There's nothing greater than that."
You can find the video of the Hughes family on our website, at cwhp.org/galleries
If you'd like to share how your Hospice journey impacted you, please call us at (307) 577-4832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org