An interview with Ellen, a social worker who served the initial patients and families of Emmaus Catholic Hospice with peace, love, and humor:
BE NOT AFRAID
“Unexpected deaths can be the most difficult.
You don’t have time to prepare anything. You know, we had a child that died of SIDS. He was five and a half months old and it really changed us.
But the good news is: I’m not afraid of dying. I asked God to take me instead of him. Oh please, God. Take me, take me. Don’t take him. That was my prayer, waiting for the paramedics and as they put me in the police car—because they had to investigate the scene as if there could have been a crime.
That changed everything for me. Most people haven’t experienced that.”
ANCHORED TO FAITH
“As a culture, we are so uncomfortable with death. Maybe if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen to me—or somehow I’ll be in control. Many people hold on to every last minute, negotiating and bargaining.
I’m used to people being so fearful. Everyone going through the end-of-life journey is experiencing some level of stress and crisis, but working with our patients and their families is different. Their faith is so alive and they are so anchored. Our patients face their illness and suffering with such peace and acceptance. And these engaged, incredibly faithful families—you just don’t hear about that as much.
Now, they still have little idiosyncrasies, as we all do. They’re still human! And so are we.”
RALLY TO FORGIVE AND LOVE
“It is such a gift to have time to say goodbye.
Recently, one patient’s family member was estranged for a number of years and had been living overseas, but she came back to be with the patient. As their hospice social worker, I saw some resistance initially, but then she was fully accepted back into the family. And it was a joy! It was a joy for her. It was a joy for the whole family. That forgiveness—regardless of who’s right or who’s wrong—it was so inspiring and comforting to see.
Instead of fear, we are seeing such peace, such strength—and the belief in a loving, merciful God.
I feel so full of hope that this is how our patients experience this journey. It’s a little peek into heaven.
With hospice, there can be a cocoon of love and care provided to the patient and the family members.
I don’t mean to suggest that dying is ever easy for any of us. Hospice can’t guarantee you’re not going to suffer; it doesn’t have that kind of power! But hospice can make people as comfortable as possible on the journey. And to see how families really rally to love one another—it’s beautiful.“
Like Ellen, we all have seasons in our lives that spark more questions than answers. Yet, in every season, hope and peace can be found.
St. Paul tells us that the peace of God surpasses all understanding, and yet this peace is accessible, too. We need only ask, and it will guard our hearts and minds in Christ in all seasons.
With this in mind, we receive the Prince of Peace this Christmas—and one day, God willing, approach Christ the King in heaven.
This has been a pivotal year for Emmaus Catholic Hospice. We now have home hospice in the Denver area that prioritizes the peace of Christ right alongside exceptional clinical care! Patients and families took their first steps with us, and it’s a privilege to bring this ministry to them.
Our mission is to provide Catholic home hospice, support, and education that honors the dignity of every person we serve.
You have walked with us to bring this mission forward. You know the importance of loving our neighbors by offering comfort, dignity, and peace.
Would you consider a generous year-end donation to support Catholic home hospice?
Your gift will fund patient care, caregiver and family support, bereavement services, and community education—services for people of all faiths and backgrounds through the lens of the Catholic faith.
May God bless you and your family with a peaceful Advent and Christmas.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Chief Mission Officer
Vicki Owens, MS, BSN, RN
Chief Executive and Nursing Officer