“The bus came. Dad is at peace, with no pain, surrounded by so many he loved, and with our Savior. All is well.”
That’s how Christine Lebold – whose father, John, was an Angela Hospice patient this year – began her letter to Angela Hospice home care nurses Joshua LaFave and Eric Simpkins, who took care of her dad.
She went on for another four paragraphs about the care Eric and Joshua gave John, who she had been caring for the last six years. She went into detail about how her family would never be able to adequately express what peace and assurance Eric and Joshua gave them, and how she felt blessed that God had put them on her dad’s path to the “bus stop.”
“I’m like a poster child for you,” she said about her experience with Angela Hospice. “You want to talk to somebody who’s been there? I would do it because…we got to see it.”
She got to see first-hand when prescriptions were delivered to her back door, even late at night. She got to see Eric and Josh connect with her dad, when they always talked to him as a person and not just a patient.
To Christine, the people of Angela Hospice are what stood out from the rest, what made this time with her dad so special.
“You can just tell that everybody is hardwired to naturally care about the person (they’re taking care of),” Christine said. “It’s more of a calling than a job.”
Given the affect Eric and Joshua had on Christine and her family, what sort of effect did a letter like that have on the both of them? A rather big one.
“This is the kind of thing that when you’ve had a bad day or a bad week, and you just feel like you’re not making an impact, what you’re doing is just falling short, to kind of come back to that letter and say, alright, you know what, this is what this is all about. I am doing something that’s making an impact on people,” said Josh, who keeps a copy of the letter in his room.
“It just kind of reinforced… the impact that you have on families, that connectedness,” Eric said. “To her, this was the first time that she felt like she could give the reins over in quite a few years. I thought that was kind of an honor.”
During their time with John and Christine, the Wonder Twins – how Christine referred to Eric and Joshua in her letter – shared some really special moments with them, often revolving around John’s strong faith.
John had wanted to have the Holy Eucharist, which proved difficult because of COVID. They had mentioned this to Josh and Eric, and during the following visit Josh, who is also a Eucharistic Minister, was able to provide Holy Communion for John.
“That was really special,” Joshua said.
“Witnessing that was really beautiful,” Eric commented. “John and Josh I felt like were, I don’t know, just connected, like they had known each other in a previous life or something…. It was really cool.”
Both Eric and Josh also commented on how during the last week of John’s life, everyone was so at peace. It was beautiful for them to experience.
“If I could be as at peace as John was when he died… That’d be the goal,” Joshua said.
John was able to be at that kind of peace because of the care he received from Angela Hospice.
What would Christine tell someone looking into hospice for the first time?
“Angela Hospice wraps around your home and your loved one in a way that makes sure that the only thing you have to focus on is the time that you have left,” she said. “I still have a soft spot for them.”