To the editor:
The end of life is a period of complex emotions for the dying body and soul as well as the family and friends of the dying. Much time is spent second guessing care choices.
We are very grateful to have the services of the Tony Teramana Cancer Center here in Steubenville. The doctors and staff there are exceptionally caring and offer the best of Pittsburgh medicine without the travel hassles.
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank the excellent caregivers of the Valley Hospice North inpatient care center. They provided over three weeks of inpatient care for my godmother, Barbara Ann Tokar Matey. Not only did they provide excellent palliative and nursing care for her, they offered kindness and compassion to her husband, Arthur, and all of her extended family and friends. The sensitivity of their caregiving far exceeded that of textbook nursing.
Thank you also to the volunteers who bake cookies for the family kitchen. This allowed us to constantly have a semblance of home in being able to offer hospitality of coffee and treats at all times. The handmade quilt from the prayer group, Busy Needles of Bell Chapel United Methodist Church, was especially comforting. Patients also found special peace in the prayer bears that were made from the Toronto St. Francis and St. Joseph parishioners group.
These missions by our local churches provide support and the companionship of prayer to patients who may not receive many visitors. I was also told that some people volunteer their animals for additional comfort. Enormous effort is made to ensure the entire atmosphere is one of great security and comfort during a time of unknown.
Yes, it takes a village to raise our children. We have been blessed with a community that comes together for our youth. Know that we are also fortunate to have a community that assists our families with their needs in their last days also. The staff and supportive volunteers at Valley Hospice literally and figuratively held our hands through the entire process to know what to expect and provided all of the resources to be emotionally equipped to handle those final days.
My godmother, Barbara Matey, wanted her caregivers be to remembered and thanked for their service. Blessed are the caregivers who do this work daily - thank you for your devoted service.