There are so many myths about hospice: that it’s just a place, that it means giving up, that beautiful and joyous memories will be few and far between, and that many on hospice are sad and lonely during their final days.
Elizabeth “Bette” Dishman broke all those myths during her four months on hospice from November 2022 to February 2023, passing just shy of her 101st birthday. She was a prime example of someone who was happy and cheerful during her time in Angela Hospice care, filling up her cup, and others, with positive memories.
“I found her uplifting spirit and positive outlook on life to be contagious, inspiring, and so needed right now,” said Liz Lakins, the Angela Hospice social worker who worked with Bette. “What was most intriguing about Bette was her positive energy and warmth she exuded.”
As an Angela Hospice social worker Liz sees many patients, with Bette being one of the most positive she had ever worked with, full of light and warmth that radiated from her as far back as their first visit. She smiled the entire time, sharing wisdom about being kind to others.
“She just was so grateful and appreciative of everyone,” Liz said. “She just genuinely loved people.”
This kind of attitude was one Bette had had her entire life according to her daughter, Sue Daly.
“When people die, they always say, ‘Oh, they were always angels.’ You don’t see the negative anymore. But I can’t honestly say there was any negative about my mom,’” Sue said.
So, what made someone like Bette so positive during her 100 years of life? It was the many blessings she was so grateful for.
From her bed at Fox Run Senior Living, Bette looked at the star shining brightly on her Christmas tree – one she kept up all year – the light glistening in her own eyes while she talked about the beautiful life she had had over the decades, telling stories about the life she shared with her husband, Jim, for over 60 years; and how grateful she was to have had so many friends, which she made everywhere she went.
“That’s one thing I got a lot of, friends; more than money,” Bette said.
Outside of Fox Run, her many friendships included a group of women who met up each month for years too.
The group always said the last one left had to turn the light off, and Bette told her daughter it looked like she would be the one to do after her last friend passed. Even though she had lost friends and family, Bette still felt grateful for all she had had.
“I think I’m pretty darn lucky,” Bette said. “I hardly ever even have a headache, that’s saying something.”
And if she was to give any advice to others about her many decades of life, it would be to never miss a good party, and remember to be kind.
YOUR GIFTS HELP FAMILIES LIKE BETTE’S TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES WHILE IN ANGELA HOSPICE CARE. DONATE HERE.