Kathy Campion’s Our Lady of Peace Hospice experience during her mother’s passing inspired her to volunteer her time to help other families. Kathy had cared for her mom for almost six years, when her aunt, a longtime OLP volunteer, encouraged her to bring her mom to the OLP Hospice Residence.
Amid working full time, Kathy cared for her mother who began having health problems when she turned 80. The oldest of four children, she says, “Logically it fell to me because I lived six blocks away from her, and I’m a nurse.” At 82, her mother had heart surgery, followed by ovarian cancer with a diagnosis of 3-6 months to live. At that point, her mom decided that she was not going to have any more treatment. “We were okay with whatever she wanted.”
Kathy and her siblings coordinated in-home hospice for their mom while she was still mobile. When her condition worsened, their aunt said, “You have to bring her to Our Lady of Peace,” and after a week of convincing their strong-willed parent, they finally did.
Although Kathy’s mom was still in good spirits, she was very weak when she entered our hospice program, and Kathy was feeling sad and thinking, “Okay, this is it.” oh, this is it.” The next day, Kathy returned, her mom was sitting in her chair. Kathy described her as “perky. “She had her oxygen on, and she said, ‘well hi!’ She had had a whirlpool bath here, and she was absolutely happy. It was like she was at a health spa for two weeks, and it was just a wonderful place for her.”
When Kathy’s moms condition began to change, she was in pain and her care team gave her pain and relaxation medication. The last week of her life, she was able to wake up a little bit, and spend time with her family.
Kathy describes her mother’s death as “beautiful.” Within two hours of her passing, her mouth closed, and she was smiling. “I have a picture of it,” Kathy said. “All of the staff that were here came to see it. It was a wonderful experience at Our Lady of Peace.”
Our Lady of Peace Hospice requires family members to wait one year before becoming a volunteer, so they have time to grieve. “I can see that that was a good thing,” Kathy said. “As soon as the year was up, I signed up. It’s a wonderful place. There isn’t one person here who isn’t kind, thoughtful, and caring.” She added, “When I’m volunteering at the reception desk and visitors come in, they feel it. I’ve had so many people say that to me. ‘It’s a wonderful place.’ Volunteering in a place where you can feel this good; it’s kind of amazing, really.”
Kathy Campion, thank you for your dedication to OLP.