Apr 22

It Takes All Kinds: An Unexpected Hospice Volunteer

Steve SmedshammerVibrant, colorful tattoos cover Steve Smedshammer’s arms. Oversized, exaggerated earrings stretch his earlobes. A scratchy beard covers his face. By appearance alone, some might label Steve a hipster, or alternative. Few might be surprised to learn he plays guitar in a metal band. But, Steve is so much more than what meets the eye.

You don’t know by looking that Stevo, as he prefers to be called, is a recent pre-med graduate of Concordia College. At age 30, he and his new bride are expecting their first child. Between attending school, working full-time and playing in two bands, he also regularly volunteers his time at local non-profit organizations, including Hospice of the Red River Valley.

“It’s not something I advertise,” Stevo said, humbly. “And, it’s not something I do just to put on my resume.” He believes by getting involved, and having well-rounded experiences, the “payouts” are exponential.

Stevo was introduced to Hospice of the Red River Valley while attending Concordia College. There, in his Biomedical Ethics class, a speaker from Hospice addressed the class. “I thought, to be a volunteer, you had to have certain prerequisites or medical background,” Stevo shared. “When I learned I could join an organization and immediately make a contribution, I was sold. I knew that same day I would apply as a volunteer.”

While some people are intimidated by the idea of being a hospice volunteer, Stevo quickly relaxed into the role. He made an instant connection with his first patient, Joe*. They bonded through a shared love of music and spend their visits listening to Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and “Americana” style music. “Joe asked me to sing to him once, but after years of scream-singing in a metal band, he hasn’t asked again,” Stevo said with a laugh.

As a musician who plays 16 instruments, including guitar, accordion, ukulele, cello, melodica and more, Stevo was the just person to help Joe achieve his goal of learning how to play guitar before he died. And so they began lessons. When the guitar became too much for Joe to handle, they switched to ukulele.

“Joe almost nailed a three minute song. It was so rewarding to see him pull it off,” Stevo described with a smile, recalling a favorite moment with his new friend. “He’s normally pretty self-deprecating, but after that song, he actually complimented himself. That was a proud moment for both of us. We celebrated with a high-five.”

Whether strumming his guitar and chatting, or sitting at a bedside during a Pathway visit, Stevo is a natural.

“When we received Stevo’s application and spoke with him, it was obvious to us that he has a wonderful, giving spirit,” Deb Kluck, manager of clinical development – volunteer services, said. “Stevo is not our ‘typical’ volunteer, and we’re thrilled about that. We need all types of people to help make our patients’ end-of-life experiences fulfilling. Variety is the spice of life, even at the end of life.”

“Most people think they could never be a hospice volunteer. I think if more people gave it a try, they’d be surprised,” Stevo explained. “If you enjoy talking with your grandpa, grandma, parents, aunts or uncles, having a conversation, just being present with people, you can be a hospice volunteer. It’s not bleak; it’s actually an overwhelmingly positive experience.”

Being a hospice volunteer has given Stevo a new perspective on life and an enhanced appreciation for his health. Volunteering with Hospice has also taught him a lot about time. “Sometimes you just need to be still, sit down and savor the quiet moments,” he explained. “People don’t just sit anymore.”

For Stevo, the rush of helping someone else is addictive. He recalls, his grandmother was cared for by Hospice, and he remembers her nurse as “the lighthouse in the storm.”

“Sometimes, just knowing someone else cares, outside of the family, can be comforting,” Stevo said. “I can do that.”

*Please note: The patient’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

At Hospice of the Red River Valley, we are fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers. We celebrate their contributions to the organization. Click to find out more information about our volunteer program and how to apply.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/04/22/it-takes-all-kinds-an-unexpected-hospice-volunteer/

Apr 08

A Child’s Understanding of Death & Grief: Age Matters

By Kriston Wenzel, LSW

From the very moment we enter this world, we are exposed to new people, things and experiences. Life is new—every day. And for most of us, when life is lost, that’s new too. No matter the age, the loss can evoke feelings of sadness, helplessness and even anger. But for children in particular, the loss of a loved one can be scary and confusing because—depending on their age—children may not understand the concept of death, or they may be unable to recognize what they are feeling so they can work through their grief.

Children and teens understand loss differently than adults, and it’s important to recognize how the individual’s age contributes to their grief reactions. Distinguishing the difference age plays in how a child may behave can help you be more prepared when consoling a child. Some cues are verbal, but nonverbal indicators exist as well.

If you know a young person who is recently bereaved, be mindful of typical understandings based on the age of the child:

Up to 3 years of age:

  • Senses feelings of adults.
  • Depends on nonverbal communication for care, affection and reassurance.

3 to 6 years of age:

  • Magical thinking is characteristic, with the child believing in the power of his/her wishes.
  • Common to consider death as retribution for bad thoughts or deeds.

6 to 10 years of age:

  • Gradually accommodating himself/herself to the ideal that death is final, inevitable, universal and personal. A full understanding of the characteristics of death does not come until a later period.
  • Expresses feelings through behavior and physical reactions.

10 to 12 years of age:

  • Learning to understand both the biological and emotional aspect of death. Focuses is on the biological facts, as they now have a frame of reference for them.
  • Beyond wondering what death is, and caught up in relational and practical concerns.


  • Adult-like understanding of performance of death and realization that everyone will die.
  • May assume roles of the person who has passed.

Although the above understandings and behaviors are just samples of how children deal with grief, we hope this gives you a base understanding of how signs of grief vary depending on the age of the child. During this time, information and resources can be incredibly helpful to not only the child, but also you.

Hospice of the Red River Valley offers Youth Journeys on Saturday, April 12—a daylong workshop for youth ages 6-18 who have experienced the death of a loved one. For more information about Youth Journeys, or to register, contact us at (800) 237-4629 or email questions@hrrv.org. Pre-registration is required by Thursday, April 10. Youth Journeys is one of many grief-related offerings that Hospice of the Red River Valley provides to our communities.

In addition to this workshop, we also have support groups and classes, a grief resource library and an annual conference. No one should have to suffer through grief alone. If you or someone you know could benefit from grief support and resources, please contact us.

Kriston Wenzel, LSW, is a bereavement specialist at Hospice of the Red River Valley. What she enjoys most about her work is having the chance to help individuals and families find their strength and resiliency during such a difficult time in their lives.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/04/08/a-childs-understanding-of-death-grief-age-matters/

Mar 25

A Dream Comes True for a Hospice Patient


A Dream Comes True for a Hospice Patient

Sonny with his daughter, Pam

Sweet Surprise
On a rural farm in Ulen, Minn., a long-sought-after dream came true for Sonny, Hospice of the Red River Valley patient, when he received a phone call from Nashville, Tenn. On the other end of the telephone Sonny heard the voice of his favorite country music singer, Bill Anderson (also known as “Whispering Bill”). “My family kept saying the call was going to happen, but I just couldn’t believe it,” Sonny said. “Pretty soon, there was a call, and I heard, ‘Telephone, Dad, telephone!’ I knew something was cookin’.” Sonny and Bill discussed the weather, life and Bill’s music—making Wednesday, March 5, 2014, a memorable day for Sonny.“I like music, and I used to play a jukebox, but I didn’t pay attention to the artists at the time,” Sonny explained. “It wasn’t until after I retired that I began to notice Bill was singing the songs I really enjoyed.” Sonny found a new hobby in not only listening to Bill’s music, but also in taping weekly episodes of the Country Family Reunion show, hosted by Bill. “I have 52 videos in my collection so far,” Sonny said. He also enjoys singing along to some of Bill’s classic tunes like, Bright Lights and Country Music.

Making the Dream Happen
In December 2013, Sonny began receiving care from Hospice of the Red River Valley in his rural home. His daughter, Pam, wanted to connect him to an organization like Make a Wish® with the hope her dad could one day meet Bill.

“I got to thinking, there must be a place with the ability to help adults who are at end of life,” Pam said. Through an online search, she located the Dream Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Foundation’s mission focuses on enhancing the quality of life for individuals and their families who face a life-threatening illness by fulfilling a heart’s final wish.

“I contacted the Dream Foundation, and they had an application specifically for hospice patients,” Pam explained. With the assistance of Hospice of the Red River Valley staff, the application was completed and submitted to the Foundation. “Hospice really helped us connect to the Dream Foundation and answer any questions the Foundation had about Dad,” she said.

Because of Sonny’s current prognosis, the application was promptly forwarded to the “emergency dream team” and placed at the top of the Dream Foundation’s wish list. Given Bill’s schedule, a phone call was arranged instead of an in-person meeting.

“All of a sudden, it just happened, and Bill was on the phone,” Pam described with excitement. “Hearing Dad talk with Bill was a beautiful thing.”

The Cherry on Top
Following the “dream” call, the Dream Foundation sent a CD from Bill, and Bill sent Sonny a package containing single-song DVDs and other artist memorabilia. “Bill had already sent me an autographed picture, but I’m happy to add the extra things to my collection,” Sonny said. “I couldn’t believe I actually got to talk to Bill. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/03/25/a-dream-comes-true-for-a-hospice-patient/

Mar 12

Clearing the Air: Differences Between Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care Explained

By Judy Peterson, LSW

Defining the Difference
The distinction between palliative care and hospice care can be confusing when deciding the next best course of action when you or a loved one is faced with a serious illness. Although both care plans have similar comprehensive, multidisciplinary team approaches—focusing on holistic care for the entire person—including medical, emotional and spiritual needs, they have key differentiating factors. The main differences include the patient’s prognosis, disease progression and desires for curative treatments.

Hospice care is palliative care, but not all palliative care is hospice care. Palliative care is a type of specialty medicine focusing on pain and symptom management, and hospice care is a subset of that type of care. Think of it in these terms: a dentist is a doctor with an area of expertise—dentistry—but not all doctors are dentists. Dentists simply fit under the umbrella of medicine with particular area of focus.

Palliative Care
Palliative care services are appropriate for any patient, no matter the patient’s diagnosis or disease progression. Individuals with chronic or serious illnesses, those receiving aggressive, curative care and those nearing the end of their lives, are all candidates for palliative medicine. Many times, palliative treatments are used to alleviate side affects of aggressive treatments like those associated with chemotherapy. The patient can work toward curative treatments while receiving palliative treatments and may even one day fully recover from their illness.

Hospice Care
Hospice care, on the other hand, is for those who have a life-limiting illness with a diagnosis of six months or less to live if their illness follows its normal course, according to the patient’s physician and a hospice physician. Although the initial prognosis for a patient must be six months or less to live, it does not mean the patient will be discharged if they live beyond that time frame.

The foundation of hospice care is to provide comfort and symptom management through high-quality care at the end of one’s life. The focus of care shifts from aggressive to comfort care for the patient through the use of medication to keep the patient comfortable when hospice services are started. Where the care takes place is also distinctive to hospice. Services are provided wherever the individual calls home, such as a private residence, nursing home, assisted living facility, veterans’ facility or hospital.

Under the Hospice Medicare benefit, care includes access to hospice services 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are also available under the benefit. Another unique aspect of hospice is grief support for family members up to 13 months after their loved one passes.

It’s a Choice
If you thought you had a year to live, would you live your days differently than if you were told you only had a week to live? Currently, the focus has shifted to the use of palliative medicine vs. hospice care for end-of-life care. Typically, this shift has not allowed people to make a timely and educated decision on how they wish to proceed with their end-of-life care.

Would you choose to undergo multiple tests, poking and prodding in an effort to give yourself maybe one more day or week? Because an individual can continue receiving aggressive treatments while receiving palliative-type services, that person may be subject to unwanted or unnecessary testing and treatments if they are not given all care plan options, including hospice. Shifting the focus to hospice care is a difficult decision for many patients and their families, but what most people don’t realize is that most palliative care triggers used to identify the right time to talk about palliative medicine are very similar triggers to what hospice uses when evaluating a patient for appropriateness of admission to hospice care. Ultimately, it’s up to the patient and the course they would like to chart through their journey.

I’m often reminded of a patient, we’ll call him John; we had on service at Hospice. John grew up in an era where you always did what the doctor recommended—even if that meant you should consider additional testing, procedures or a trip to see a medical specialist many miles away. He wanted to live, and he had so much to live for, including a beautiful family, loving and caring wife and his precious farm. Regardless of his will to live, his illness took a toll, and his condition wasn’t improving.

John endured every test, surgery and curative treatment conceivable. It wasn’t until he had only a few days left to live that he was given the option of palliative care and hospice, changing the direction of his care plan. His final month of life was spent in the hospital, undergoing an additional surgery just two weeks before he passed. John already had a weak heart, bad liver and failing kidneys. With his kidney complications, it was recommended that he should proceed with dialysis. John’s heart could not tolerate the treatment, so it was stopped partially through the first run.

He wanted to spend his final days at his beloved farm, but rather than offering comfort medication to allow him to remain in his home and be comfortable, John ended up weak, deconditioned and unable to return home. His last days were spent in a nursing home with hospice care on board, and John finally received care to keep him comfortable. He did have a few good days at the nursing home, and he was able to enjoy his family, laugh about good times and ride his scooter outdoors to soak up some sunshine. I wonder how his final days would have played out had he been involved in palliative care/hospice care sooner. Unfortunately, we will never know.

What’s right for you or your loved one?
Palliative care should be implemented early in the disease process as aggressive therapies remain in place. The use of palliative medicine should increase as the disease process advances, and this will allow the patient to advance to a level of care like hospice, continuing with comfort care. Hospice services enhance an established care plan by offering additional pain and symptom management, spiritual care and bereavement support. As the patient approaches end of life, hospice can be there to help with final goodbyes—both for the patient and their family. This time is not only important for the patient, but it is also essential for the family.

Palliative care and hospice care are valid treatment plan options. It’s true that aggressive treatment choices will always be there—there will always be the next test or surgery—but the benefits vs. difficulties for the patient and family should be considered. When appropriate implementation of palliative medicine is used, it can offer the patient an opportunity to choose the care that most closely aligns with their end-of-life wishes and personal values.

Judy Peterson is a manager of clinical development at Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/03/12/clearing-the-air-differences-between-palliative-care-vs-hospice-care-explained/

Feb 25

Helping Hands: Clay for a Cause Event Warm Hearts

Clay TilesSometimes the slightest gesture can travel the greatest distance. That’s exactly what Plains Art Museum had in mind when they selected Hospice of the Red River Valley as the recipient of artwork created at a recent Kid Quest event.

During the Clay for a Cause-themed event, families gathered at Plains Art Museum to explore the concept of art as a medium to connect people. More than 200 children—ages toddler to grade school—traveled through the galleries for inspiration of art before they created artwork of their own.

Based on the idea of connecting with one another through art, participants decorated and glazed clay tiles that incorporated positive and inspiring messages. Each child created two clay tiles—one for themselves and one for a Hospice of the Red River Valley patient. Brianna McNelly, manager of Youth Programs at Plains Art Museum, said, “We’re hoping the artwork will help brighten someone’s day.”

Jenna Miosek, patient care manager at Hospice of the Red River Valley, said the artwork will make a difference for hospice patients. “The tiles are small, but the result of these kindnesses will be immeasurable,” she said.

Deb Gemar, director of community relations for Hospice of the Red River Valley, couldn’t agree more. “We are appreciative of the thoughtfulness of the children and Plains Art Museum for sharing the artwork,” she said. “This event produced wonderful artwork and also provided an opportunity to educate and share the hospice story with community youth and their families.”

The tiles were delivered to Hospice of the Red River Valley the week of Valentine’s Day—making this project even sweeter for those under hospice care who will receive the tiles in the coming weeks.

Kid Quest is a free program sponsored by Xcel Energy with additional funding from The Village Family Magazine and Minnesota Public Radio held the first Saturday of the month, October-April.

For more information about Kid Quest, please visit http://plainsart.org/learn/kid-quest/.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/02/25/helping-hands-clay-for-a-cause-event-warm-hearts/

Feb 11

Giving Hearts Day

Giving Hearts DayShare your heart for Hospice of the Red River Valley by supporting the organization on Giving Hearts Day!

On Feb. 13, 2014, Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) and Impact Foundation will hold the 7th Annual Giving Hearts Day. For one day only, contributions of $10 or more made through www.impactgiveback.org to benefit Hospice of the Red River Valley will be multiplied by match dollars from TEAM Industries.

It’s easy to make a secure online gift to Hospice of the Red River Valley!

Five Easy Steps to Give:

Step 1: Go to www.impactgiveback.org

Step 2: Click on the Giving Hearts Day “Donate” button

Step 3: Scroll down the list of participating organization to find Hospice of the Red River Valley and click the “Donate” button next to our name

Step 4: Enter your gift amount in the donation box and click “add donation to cart”

Step 5: Click “review your cart and checkout now.”

To support Hospice of the Red River Valley on Feb. 13, please visit www.impactgiveback.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/02/11/giving-hearts-day-is-feb-13/

Jan 28

Two Peas in a Pod – One Volunteer’s Connection to a Patient

BreannaSometimes you meet someone and a natural connection just happens, like an unstoppable force of magnetism. That’s precisely what happened for volunteer Breanna Hanan and hospice patient, Alice.* What started out as a routine college credit requirement, quickly turned into meaningful life lessons and an unexpected friendship.

Breanna, an upbeat, cheerful young lady pursuing a nursing degree at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), was required to complete 20 hours of volunteer service as part of her education. Having witnessed hospice care in a nursing home where she works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for three years, Breanna sought out a volunteer opportunity with Hospice of the Red River Valley to fulfill her requirement. In Oct. 2013, she was matched with her first patient, Alice.

Volunteer Coordinator Kristi Sherven recognized the opportunity for Breanna to connect with Alice because Breanna’s commute to and from class in Wahpeton, N.D., had her driving through Alice’s hometown of Wolverton, Minn., regularly. “I had hoped Breanna would stop by on her way to NDSCS to provide a companionship visit twice a month,” Kristi said. “But Alice enjoyed Breanna so much, she asked if she could change the request to weekly visits.”

From their first meeting, Breanna’s time spent with Alice consisted of much more than companionship, as they were comfortable with each other almost immediately. The two spent hours together completing tasks that were too cumbersome or extensive for the patient to tackle by herself.

Breanna helped clean and sort through clothing, among other projects. “I’m not a baker, but Alice had been a home economics teacher, so we made cookies together,” Breanna explained with a smile, recalling a favorite visit with Alice. “She showed me what to do every step of the way.” Another enjoyable task was sorting photos and arranging them in albums. “Alice had many photos from her travels to Europe and the East Coast, and I really liked looking through them with her,” she said.

Not only were the activities fun, but the patient and volunteer found a common thread in their senses of humor. “We’re both so silly,” Breanna described. “We enjoy each other’s company.” They connected through their silliness, but also on a deeper level. “Alice has a very positive outlook on life,” Breanna explained. “She’s taught me how to live in the moment and not to focus on the negative.”

Kristi understands the importance of pairing appropriate volunteers with patients. “Sometimes a natural bond forms between the volunteer and patient, and things just click,” she explained. “My heart was warmed when I heard Breanna talk of her time with Alice.” Breanna even requested to continue visiting Alice after her required credit hours were complete; even Minnesota winters can’t keep her away!

Kristi observed, “Breanna has gone above and beyond, and shown true dedication. Roundtrip to and from Alice’s house is 50 miles, and Breanna stays for up to two-and-a-half hours with Alice each visit!”

Breanna had already considered a career in hospice care before volunteering, but the experience further strengthened her interest in the field and the organization. “I didn’t know the whole team of separate disciplines came together to care for each patient so completely,” Breanna said. All team members–including physicians, registered nurses, CNAs, social workers, chaplains and grief specialists–attend regular meetings to discuss each patient’s care plan in detail.

While Breanna completes her degree, she intends to continue volunteering well beyond her required credit hours. “I love how compassionate everyone is at Hospice,” Breanna shared. To people who think they could never volunteer for Hospice, she says “It’s fun! Alice is like my grandma, and I really enjoy visiting her.”

Editor’s note: To respect patient privacy, the patient’s name has been changed in this story.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/01/28/two-peas-in-a-pod-one-volunteers-connection-to-a-patient/

Jan 14

How to Say Goodbye to a Loved One

Say GoodbyeBy Rev. Lauryl Ivers

I can just hear the child in me saying, “But I don’t want to say goodbye!” We simply just don’t want to say goodbye to the people we love, or the pets we love, or the things we love. So, what is best? Sneak out the back door, or face endings as best I can and learn how to practice saying goodbye (which I will have to do many more times than I want to think about)?

Saying Goodbye
Honestly, I’ve done my share of “sneaking out the back door,” but usually it’s not satisfying for my soul. Goodbyes are hard, but as I think back, they made the endings sweeter. I remember holding my proud Tennessee Walker horse—he was tall and jet black, a real champion in his days—as the veterinarian gave him a sedative before “putting him to sleep.” His name was Moses, and he looked at me with those big, dark eyes, and a tear rolled down his cheek. He had a brain tumor and there was nothing else we could do, and he knew it, too. So we stood there together, he with his tears and I with mine, communicating our goodbye in ways beyond words. I’m glad I was there; it was so hard, but it was a very touching moment I won’t forget.

Plan Ahead
When I left the church and congregation where I had served as pastor for many years, a friend gave me a book called Running Through the Thistles, by Roy Oswald. It was a guide for saying goodbye. What a fitting title! When you run through goodbyes, they can’t help but scratch and hurt. The book helped me make a plan of sorts, to whom and when to say goodbye, how to say it in my own way, how to be intentional about a good goodbye for all of us. The book made the point that each goodbye is preparation for the day we have to make our own final goodbyes on this earth. And, if we practice now, it will help us say goodbye in ways that truly honors the people we love and the relationships we have with them. A good goodbye helps soften the memory of loss later.

Prepare early; I mean really early! I just witnessed a funeral where the son gave a wonderful tribute. He recalled that every time he and his dad parted, in person or over the phone, they always said, “I love you.” He didn’t have any regrets about what he didn’t say to his dad, because he always said and heard, “I love you.” These three words are one of the greatest phrases to use in goodbyes. Practice saying them!

Take time to think about what you want to say and who you want to say it to. You’ll have different goodbyes for different circumstances. Sometimes the ending is a death, sometimes it’s another type of parting. “Thank you” is another excellent goodbye phrase, and when it’s used within a significant, shared story, it honors what made your relationship unique and meaningful.

Feelings of Emotion
Expect emotions. Who would have thought my horse would cry? But he did, and people cry too. Or sometimes we laugh because we can’t cry, at least not yet. Expect your own emotions too; they have a way of catching you off guard. Expect emotions, especially if you are saying goodbye with meaningful words like, “I’m sorry.” or “I forgive you.” These are powerful goodbye words and can transform you and the person who receives them for a lifetime.

Sometimes people say, “We don’t do goodbyes, we do ‘See you laters.” Ok, that counts, as long as you all really know what you are saying, and not just “sneaking out the back door.” Goodbye has the etiology of meaning, “God be with you,” so saying goodbye is bestowing a blessing. And for a person whose faith tradition anticipates seeing one another again after a parting or after a death, “see you later” rings true.

Sometimes Saying Nothing Says A Lot
I learned long ago from a dear friend that sometimes the most touching words you can offer another are no words at all—just being there, a hug, holding a hand, rubbing a shoulder, crying. Jesus wept—and that was just what his friends needed.

Take cues from your loved one. You can ask, “Is there anything that would be most important to you to talk about today?” Take your cues from your own inner self . What do you most need to hear from others? That may be the best clue about what you most need to say.

Final Farewell
Saying goodbye is an important signal to your loved ones, and recognizes an ending point in your journey together. It also signifies that we can say goodbye and still be alright. We’re now at the fork in the road, and it’s ok to travel separately, because we’ve each had the pleasure of traveling together for a time that mattered. It’s a way of saying, “thank you, I’ll be ok, and you’ll be ok.” Your words may be a critical gift of peace to someone who is worrying if you can handle their leaving.

Are you concerned about saying goodbye too soon? Maybe I’m showing my Scandinavian tendency, but my family starts saying goodbyes about an hour or more before we actually get up to leave, and no one (except the kids!) seems too upset about it. If you say your heartfelt goodbye and see your loved one again, it’s a gift! I hope you have many of them!

Goodbye. God be with you!

If you have a question about spiritual concern at the end of life, please contact us or visit our website.

Lauryl Ivers is a chaplain at Hospice of the Red River Valley.           

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2014/01/14/how-to-say-goodbye-to-a-loved-one/

Dec 17

Continuing a Philanthropic Legacy by Giving to Hospice

Editor’s Note: At Hospice of the Red River Valley, we are blessed with ardent supporters and community friends. This letter was written by Erv and Linda Inniger. Please join them in giving your gift to Hospice of the Red River Valley this year.

Dear friends,

Over the years, we have heard about hospice care, talked about it, and even supported it. But the concept of care really came to life when we witnessed, firsthand, the work of Hospice of the Red River Valley for our dear, family friend Norene NoreneBunker. Only after seeing the care in action could we truly appreciate hospice.

Norene was an amazing lady. She, and her husband, Art, well-known as generous philanthropists, gave abundantly of their time and resources to countless organizations and individuals. After a lifetime of giving, how appropriate that Norene received a tremendous gift at the end of her life—she was allowed to die the way she wanted.

Ever independent, Norene was used to making decisions and doing things her way. Death was no different. Art’s passing, in 2009, prompted Norene to consider her own end-of-life wishes. When the time came, she knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to say so, even when her choices were unpopular. We were so grateful Hospice understood.

Always an intensely private woman, Norene specifically requested no one be present when she passed—not family, friends, or even a nurse. She wanted to be alone. Well-meaning friends and family didn’t always agree with her decisions, but Norene’s requests were her own. On March 26, 2013, Norene peacefully passed away, alone, while watching the news—an activity she loved.

For four months, Hospice nurses and CNAs had cared for Norene, and kept her comfortable and pain-free, all the while preparing us. We felt anxious, but Hospice reassured us and educated us on the stages of death so we knew what to expect. Even now, months later, Norene and Art3we still receive bereavement support. When Norene made the decision to go on hospice care, at the time, we had no idea what a wonderful gift she was giving us.

We learned it takes a truly special team of professionals to provide hospice care, and the support of the entire community to ensure this care continues in the future. Norene felt a special joy in helping and giving, and Hospice of the Red River Valley needs our support. We can think of no better way to honor Norene’s memory than by giving to those who gave her, and us, so much.

Please join us in continuing Norene and Art’s philanthropic legacy by giving your gift to Hospice of the Red River Valley.


Erv and Linda Inniger

For more information about ways to support Hospice of the Red River Valley, please visit our website or call (800) 237-4629.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2013/12/17/continuing-a-philanthropic-legacy-by-giving-to-hospice/

Dec 03

Heirlooms Celebrates 10 Years of Supporting Hospice of the Red River Valley!

In 2002, leaders of Hospice of the Red River Valley had a bold idea. They imagined an additional revenue source to support the organization—an upscale, resale store. Months later, after countless hours of planning, uncertainty and anxiety, their dream was born. Heirlooms officially opened its doors in September 2003. Today, 10 years later, Heirlooms is flourishing as a sophisticated destination for gently used, high quality goods. And, all proceeds support the important mission of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Throughout the past decade, Heirlooms firmly established itself in the community as a donation destination for those finer items no longer needed because of a change in family circumstances, relocation, downsizing, redecorating or remodeling.

Reaching this milestone anniversary is no small feat for the average business, and is even more remarkable for Heirlooms. Aside from three store managers, the store is entirely staffed by devoted volunteers. More than 75 individuals volunteer their time to help with sorting, preparing and pricing merchandise for sale, arranging the various store displays and assisting customers and donors.

Heirlooms store manager, Bev Rohde, says, “I’m so thankful for all the volunteers do. Of the many volunteers who share the work and responsibility of the store, 27 of them started with the store back in 2003. That’s dedication!”

Long-time volunteer, Ethel Wischer shares, “I was one of the first volunteers and feel privileged to be a part of Heirlooms. I always look forward to coming each week and hope I can continue to be part of the Heirlooms family for many more years.”

Heirlooms will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with an open house for the public on December 10. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. that morning. To thank the community for their generosity, Heirlooms will offer various sale prices on select merchandise each day of the week:

Tuesday, Dec. 10: 25% off everything storewide
Wednesday, Dec. 11: 25% off clothing
Thursday, Dec. 12: 25% off framed artwork
Friday, Dec. 13: 25% off glassware
Saturday, Dec. 14: 25% off furniture

Heirlooms is located at 3120 25th St. S. in Fargo, N.D. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are accepted during regular business hours or by appointment. For more information, stop in, call 701-356-2670, visit www.hrrv.org/heirlooms or find them at www.facebook.com/heirloomsfargo.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2013/12/03/heirlooms-celebrates-10-years-of-supporting-hospice-of-the-red-river-valley/

Older posts «