At 77 years old, Barbara strongly values her independence and describes herself as having a gypsy soul. She has a deep spiritual appreciation for nature and has lived successfully in the woods of southern Vermont for much of her life. Barbara lives alone, without family, and suffers from chronic lung disease.
Though Barbara’s health is rapidly failing and her days on this earth numbered, she is determined not to lose her independence and strong spirit. When Barbara learned that she could spend her remaining time at home, while maintaining comprehensive end-of-life care through her final days with Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH), she couldn’t have been more thankful.
Due to her worsening condition, Barbara is unable to do many of the things she used to love, one of those things being gardening. When asked what makes her happy, Barbara answered, “Flowers and gardening.” She lit up while describing all of the vegetables she would love to plant and all the flowers she enjoys looking at.
Being an independent person made it hard for Barbara to initially accept help from the VNH Hospice team. With time, she has slowly opened up and begun accepting some help. On one very special day, she allowed herself to receive the offerings and fully accept the love.
With the goal of bringing Barbara’s confined life some joy and beauty, three members of her care team volunteered their time to spend the day planting flowers outside of her home and potting flowers for her to admire while sitting in her favorite chair on her enclosed porch. Now, everywhere she looks, Barbara is surrounded by beautiful flowers.
“She was the most vibrant I’ve seen her in a long time,” said her Spiritual Care Counselor, Heidi. “Barbara was able to join in something that brought joy to her whole being.” Her Medical Social Worker, Supriya, described how Barbara thanked them all over and over again for what they had done for her.
“Through a long life of hardship and pain, Barbara has learned to survive and adapt to whatever happens,” said Patty, a Brattleboro Area Hospice volunteer. “Her strength, courage, and smile have captured my heart.”
With Hospice care, the focus is on quality and comfort of life so one may live each day fully. The VNH Hospice Wish Fund, established from a grant received by White Mountain Capital, enables people with minimal income, such as Barbara, to experience and receive final gifts that they may not otherwise get. The VNH Hospice Wish Fund creates the space and opportunity to connect staff and patients in a deeper, non-clinical way.