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Hospice Stories

Emma’s Story

Life rarely goes as we plan. Emma discovered a lump on her breast just before her marriage to Jim, the love of her life. This did not deter their plans of celebration and Emma described their honeymoon as the best time in her life. Upon return, however, Emma and Jim learned that she had breast cancer.

Two years later, Emma and Jim became part of the Pathways family when she was referred to Pathways Hospice for supportive care. A spirited, independent woman, Emma did not let the course of her illness stop her from living a full life. A great artist, she continued to work and socialize with family and friends. Her art hung proudly throughout their home.

As Emma’s disease progressed and she began to experience more pain and swelling in one arm, her Hospice team of nurse, social worker and home health aide, began visiting very regularly. At Emma’s request, the social worker taught her breathing meditation and guided meditation techniques designed specifically for cancer patients, allowing Emma to remain an active participant in her care.

Gently informed by the Hospice Team that her condition was rapidly declining, Jim began taking additional time off work and the hospice team visited daily. As Emma became confined to her bed, her exceptional support system – husband, sister, father and mother-in-law – spent many hours at her bedside.

At Pathways, care and support to the family is always sensitive to the individual needs and feelings of each person. Family members often assume different roles, all supportive and important.

Jim had just returned home from an errand as Emma was exhibiting symptoms of active dying. Her father was at her bedside and with tears in his eyes said goodbye. Emma may have been waiting for those words and Jim’s return, for it was just five minutes later that she took her last breath. The Hospice nurse, home health aide and social worker were all present in these moments of her dying to support Emma and her family.

Jim designed a website in Emma’s memory where he expressed gratitude to Pathways for their care.

“The Pathways staff was terrific. They helped ease her pain with their care and treatments. I really appreciated their assistance in doing so.”