Hospice Care

Helping a Family Celebrate a Memorable Life Event

Erin had long dreamt of her mother seeing her walk down the aisle in her wedding gown. She dreamed of her mom sitting on the front row and watching as she said “I do” to the man they had both grown to love so much.

But there was one huge problem. Her beloved mother is terminally ill and likely won’t make it to the October wedding they have been planning.

Enter Serenity’s Erica Borden and Nicole Sapp, the patient’s nurse case manager and certified nursing assistant. A week earlier, they both were at the patient’s home to check up on her and, as she showed more signs of decline, they discussed her situation with Erin. Seeing the devastation that registered in Erin’s eyes as she realized her mom probably wouldn’t get to see her get married, Erica and Nicole made a suggestion.

“Why not get married next week here in the living room?” Erica inquired.

With Erin’s agreement, Erica and Nicole got busy planning the July 1 event. They shopped for decorations and flowers and called in Serenity’s WR office Chaplain Robbie Passmore to officiate the ceremony. They also called Volunteer Coordinator Brenda Thompson to arrange for a wedding cake, which volunteer cook-extraordinaire Barbara Hayes was happy to bake.

Everyone was thrilled to help make this special day happen, but no one more than Brenda. After all, she had already seen first-hand as God divinely intervened to match this beautiful family with Serenity in the first place.

Rewind to a Friday morning just a few weeks earlier when Brenda’s phone alarm twirped and tweeted a reminder that she had a long overdue eye appointment later that day in Macon. Realizing she had completely forgotten and already booked her day with patients, she made a mental note to call and cancel and went about her day.

After visiting patients in Byron and Lizella, she made her way to Macon to see her next patient, but on the way, that patient’s wife called and asked if she could delay her visit by an hour. About that same time, a second reminder for her eye appointment popped up on her phone, reminding her not only of her impending appointment time, but also that she had forgotten to cancel it. About that same time, she also realized that she was just a few minutes away from the doctor’s office. Fate seemed determined to get Brenda into that exam chair.

She headed over to the appointment and jumped out of the car to head inside. After closing the car door, however, she felt a nudge to reopen the door and grab her Serenity nametag. Brenda always takes off her badge in the car because it makes the seatbelt more bothersome and, though she obviously didn’t need to wear a name tag to go into a personal appointment, something just told her that on this day, in this office, she indeed needed it. Not one to ignore such nudges, Brenda obliged and clipped it onto her shirt as she walked inside.

After being shown to the exam room, Brenda was soon joined by one of the doctor’s assistants. The assistant, who introduced herself as Erin, sat at a nearby desk and began asking questions to gather information. She paused, however, when she turned and faced Brenda.

“You work with Serenity?” she asked softly. The question consisted of only four words, but her tone made it obvious that there were a lot of feelings behind it.

“Yes, I do. Do you know us?”

“Well, I, I guess you could say that,” she stuttered quietly. “My mom has cancer, and her doctors feel it is time to call in hospice. They suggested either Serenity or another hospice here in town.”

“I have been reeling ever since they uttered the word hospice, and I had no idea which one to call. In fact, I prayed all night last night, pleading with God to give me a sign and help me take the right next step,” she continued, tears welling up in her eyes. “You are obviously that sign.”

As Brenda listened to Erin’s words, she knew at once that the events that brought her into the office and the still, small voice that led her to put on her nametag were far from coincidental and eagerly shared with them with Erin.

“And you weren’t supposed to be my patient, but the other girl had to leave,” she said, exhaling a deep sigh of relief as she experienced her prayer being answered in real-time.

Erin signed her mother up with Serenity the next day and, as is so often the case, the Serenity team quickly became like family to her and her mother. They care for the patient’s every need and have aided and advised Erin all along the way, including helping throw her this beautiful impromptu wedding so that her sweet mama could see her say “I do.”

And what a perfect ceremony it was.

Though the disease has diminished Erin’s mama’s ability to communicate verbally, it was obvious that she was deeply touched. There was a glisten in her eyes and an almost palpable air of love that circled bride and groom as they took her hands into theirs.

“We can never thank you all enough,” Erin said, leaning in to kiss her mama on the cheek. “Thank you for letting God use you and for being the answer to my prayers.”

Serenity Hospice is now part of the Agape Care family. Learn more here.

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