If you found out that a dear friend or family member was in hospice care, what would you do? You’d probably visit. Make a meal. Offer to run errands. That’s what we do for each other in hard times, right?
But the sad truth is that most of the patients in our hospice facility don’t have a community around them to rally support. They come to us alone. More often than not, they die alone, too.
It can be tempting to believe that the AIDS crisis is behind us. That we’ve innovated our way out of it. If you’re a patient who’s keeping up with the meds, then your life expectancy today is almost the same as someone without the virus.
But if you’re homeless, or very poor, then you’re less likely to see a doctor. Less likely to know your HIV status. And far less likely to be sticking to a medication schedule.
Brian* is someone who had turned to us for help in the past. He wanted nothing more than to “live like normal people.” To stop using drugs. Stay on his HIV meds. Find a job and a place to live. Brian had been fighting for more than 20 years to build a life he could be proud of.
But unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.
It was hard to recognize him when he was wheeled into Doug’s House from the ambulance. By then, he weighed less than 100 pounds.
His family lives in a town just a few hours away. But no one came to see him in his final days. When the end came, our hospice nurse was the only other person in the room.
But here is what I want you to know about Brian: thanks to you, his final days were peaceful. He was cared for as he passed. Your past gift made that possible.
We can’t make our patients’ families love them. We can’t fix the pain and trauma they’ve experienced. And we can’t keep them from dying.
But we can do everything in our power to give them in death what has so often eluded them in their lives: Peace. Comfort. Dignity. Acceptance.
The people we serve have lived hard lives. They’ve faced trauma, homelessness, mental health challenges, and poverty. Your generosity gives them a peaceful end. Thank you.
*Name has been changed to preserve confidentiality