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Caregiver of the Month – Desiree Lurie

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Desiree Lurie is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty. She was nominated by Felicia Kile, a volunteer from The Denver Hospice

It is my honor to nominate Desiree Lurie for The Hospice Caregiver of the Month Award. Desiree’s working title is “Social Worker” for The Denver Hospice but she is more like a “Guiding Light” full of WARMTH, HOPE and LOVE.

I am a volunteer who shares the care of a patient with her. For the last year I have not only observed, I have experienced her kindness, compassion and dedication. Desiree treats our patient and her family like they are her only priority, her only patient, while in reality Desiree continuously cares for 37+ patients along with their families at various stages of life.

Desiree began the Hospice Journey with our patient and her family approximately a year and a half ago. Our patient has dementia, is non-verbal and her family does not live in the area. Desiree is truly her “number 1” advocate, continually assessing and reassessing her situation as her needs change. Desiree gently helps with the small details as well as assists with her “Guiding Light” full of WARMTH, HOPE and LOVE through the more difficult decisions. Our patient lives with respect, dignity and grace because of Desiree. When there has been a problem Desiree’s persistence, character and heart shine like no other.

A quote from one of Desiree’s co-workers, “Desiree is the most professional social worker I work with. She doesn’t just put band aids on the problems, she talks to her patients and finds out what is needed to make their journey better.”

Desiree’s personal working responsibilities are vast but she is also an integral part of a team.

It has been my privilege to witness the team in action and to marvel at the many roles of Desiree Lurie. AKA: Social Worker AKA: Guiding Light

I have contacted Desiree many times over the last year concerning our patient. Regardless of my questions or concerns Desiree always takes prompt and appropriate action with the same level of urgency to rectify all issues.

Desiree continuously goes above and beyond for our patient making sure all of her needs are cared for while never losing sight of the larger specifics for her and her family.

Desiree exudes compassion, she is beyond kind, Desiree, is the consummate caregiver!

A Guiding Light full of WARMTH, HOPE and LOVE…

Felicia Kile

The Denver Hospice Volunteer

 

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Caregiver Award

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

If Your Father has Died, If You are a Grieving Father … The Shadow Side of Father’s Day

Many thanks to Molly Keating and our colleagues at O’Connor Mortuary in California for allowing us to re-post this to benefit our community.

Dads. They’ve got their own unique hold on each and every one of us. With Father’s Day on the horizon, I am always drawn to thinking of the people whose voices will struggle on this holiday with what to say. How do you go through the day if your father has died or if you are a father missing a child?

If you are on this shadow-side of Father’s Day this post is for you.

If your dad has died …

If Your Father has Died, If You are a Grieving Father ... The Shadow Side of Father's Day

I’m so sorry. I hear many people refer to their dads as anchors or guides in their lives, light houses that assure our position and point the way. Losing such an important person changes everything, leaves us afloat, feeling aimless and confused.

So what are ways to bring joy and forward movement into the day? How do you invite your dad to be a part of Father’s Day?

Here are a few ideas:

  • What were some of his hobbies? There’s probably something you and family members could do together in his name; play a board game, throw a football around, tell some of his best bad jokes : )
  • Share a picture of your dad on Facebook with a tribute, it doesn’t have to be long. Key words, a favorite story or a life lesson he taught you are great places to start.
  • BBQ or enjoy some of your dad’s favorite things to eat.
  • Visit your dad’s grave and leave something for him. I have seen people leave a nice cold Budweiser for their dad and I love things like that because they make me smile and hold so much meaning.
  • Consider ways you could become that light house or mentor to others. Living out a legacy is one of the most meaningful ways of honoring people who have loved us & changed us.

If you are a grieving father …

If Your Father has Died, If You are a Grieving Father ... The Shadow Side of Father's Day

I think grieving fathers are some of the most overlooked grief communities that I know of. Understandably, there is a tremendous focus on mothers grieving because of the role their bodies play in the life of the child. These are different griefs tethered to the same loss but their differences don’t elevate one above the other.

I think one of the most significant issues dad’s face in grief is the role of responsibility they feel as protector of their family. When children die, no matter how, father’s take the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. “I should’ve been there,” “I could’ve done something different,” etc. That’s what being a dad is. It’s a protector, leader and helper and that identity is damaged and can even feel dismantled entirely when a child dies.

So, how in the world do you face Father’s Day when you don’t feel like you’ve fulfilled the role? We know that men, in general, are helped by taking action when facing grief and pain. Below are a few ideas that are hopefully constructive and instrumental in helping make the day more bearable, significant, and ultimately helpful.

  • Make something for your child. This can be as simple as paper airplanes, and as complicated as your skill set takes you. Creating a bench for your yard or a picture frame for a favorite photo can be special ways of crafting something for them that you can continue to enjoy.
  • Resist the stereotypical urge to “keep it bottled up.” This doesn’t help anyone, in fact, it only further isolates the people in the most pain. Share with your spouse or a trusted friend about the pain of the day and a way they could be of support to you through it.
  • Consider the kind of day you need; do you want to be with friends & family or would solitude be more helpful? If you have a gathering of people, set aside part of your time together to name your child and acknowledge the loss. Being together with people who love you and miss your child is a wonderful reminder that you are not alone in this.
  • Look forward. Because the loss of a child is in so many ways the loss of the future we can often become absorbed or obsessed with only looking back into the time they were a part of our lives. Spend time looking back, it’s not bad or wrong, it’s part of grief. But I would encourage you to dare to look forward, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, at what this year, the next 5, the next 10 years may hold for you. There is a lot of life ahead; look for ways to carry your little one with you into the future – it’s not the way you planned it, but it’s something you can do, if you choose.

To each and every person out there facing a Father’s Day on the shadow side, I am just so sorry. I know no blog or list of actions can fix what you are going through. The above is an attempt to guide, to be that light house for those of you who do feel adrift without fathers or your child.

Tenderness in the Spring & Summer

By Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, DM

 

As I walked through the grocery store I saw all the displays set up for Mother’s Day.  While many are celebrating, we must take good and gentle care of ourselves and be mindful of others when the upcoming holidays might be times of grieving for loved ones who are no longer with us.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day and many other occasions can bring both joy and sorrow. The significant times in a person’s life, times not on everyone’s calendars, can be especially difficult.

These might include:

  • Anniversary of the death
  • Wedding anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Birthdays of other family members
  • Major family occasions such as weddings, baptisms, graduations or other milestones

There are many ways to observe and commemorate these important occasions, such as visiting the final resting place of a family member or finding a visual, verbal or symbolic way to remind others of a special person’s continued presence in the life and history of your family.  Recently, one family shared favorite memories of their loved one.  There was laughter.  There were tears.  And there was relief brought about by sharing feelings honestly and directly.

Knowing that there is no right way or wrong way to grieve, only your way, gives you permission to do what is best for yourself and those close to you. Here are some suggestions…

  • Care for yourself – mind, body & spirit.

Do things that are helpful, nourishing and comforting for you, such as listening to music, having quiet time, enjoying a cup of tea or a bath that can be soothing.

  • Reserve the right to change your mind.

Well-meaning people may extend invitations, and even press us to attend.  Just because someone invites, doesn’t mean our attendance is required.  Care for yourself in terms of how much socializing you can tolerate.  People who truly care will understand if you tell them how you are feeling.

  • Keep some traditions… or create new ones.

Some people wish to do things in the ways they’ve always done them.  This can be the best thing for some, but others might find it helpful to create new traditions or do something completely different.  Exercise your right to grieve in your own way.

  • Acknowledge that life has changed.

Sometimes people don’t want to mention the name of the person who died, thinking that this is easier for us and what we would prefer..  Let people know through your words and actions that it’s OK to speak of the person who died.  Set a place at the table and perhaps place a candle or photograph there that shows that that person’s presence is still felt.

Please know that our care and support continues.  You can reach me at jmcbride@horancares.com or 303-577-6057.  Wishing you peace…

Compassionate Professional Chace Griffin

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Chace Griffin is a Funeral Director at our SW Denver/Lakewood location.  He has worked at Horan & McConaty for 2 years.

Why did you choose this career?

I was inspired to enter funeral service after watching my uncle, John Horan, serve families and saw what a huge difference it made in their lives.  I decided to pursue a degree in mortuary science after graduating from CSU.

Why did you choose Horan & McConaty?

I enjoy working at Horan & McConaty because we are family owned and operated and it truly feels that way. The management and staff that work here care for each other.

What is fulfilling about your work?

I feel fulfilled when I get the chance to help a family construct a ceremony that honors their loved one.  I have the opportunity to make a positive impact in people’s lives every day that I come to work.

Caregiver of the Month – Lorraine Cecil

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Lorraine Cecil is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty.  She was nominated by Shannon Kilrow from Hospice Care of the Rockies.

Lorraine Cecil has been a volunteer with Hospice Care of the Rockies since 2014. Lorraine demonstrates considerable and consistent commitment in terms of time, amount of responsibility and longevity. Lorraine has made an incredible impact on our hospice patients over the years, always willing to take on the more ‘difficult’ patients. Lorraine has a calming and peaceful presence and is able to easily share space and provide comforting presence to our patients, while also has the personality and willingness to engage with patients in conversation and life review. Lorraine goes above and beyond as a hospice volunteer. For example – Lorraine visited with a hospice patient in her home who was primarily bed bound and had not left her home in many years. Lorraine recognized boredom and need for stimulation for this particular patient and therefore took it upon herself to check out library books for the patient regularly, which they discuss during their visits.

Lorraine is also very crafty in knitting and sewing and shares these gifts selflessly with our patients. Whenever I have a volunteer request Lorraine is one of the first volunteers I turn to, as she is prompt, responsive, and always willing to go the extra mile for our patients. Lorraine has taken on multiple patients at a time with the intention to “ease stress, pain and fear of death”. Lorraine does this in a spectacular manner. Lorraine does not limit herself to direct patient care, she is also an excellent asset to events held by Hospice Care of the Rockies. Lorraine jumped at the opportunity to help with a Vow Renewal Ceremony at a local nursing home. Lorraine shared her skill of photography and photographed the many elderly couples who came to renew their vows on Valentines Day. in addition to this, she had no problem (in fact, was extremely helpful) in setting up and then cleaning up the event. Lorraine helped the event to run smoothly – and added a special element, taking photos for the couples.

Lorraine provides immense amounts of her own time to our patients, in 2015 and 2016 Lorraine provided the most volunteer hours to our volunteer program throughout both years. She is consistent about her visits and recognizes the importance of commitment to our patients. I cannot think of anyone more suited to receive extra special recognition for her unwavering commitment to hospice patients and their families.

Sincerely,

Shannon Kilrow

Hospice Care of the Rockies

 

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Caregiver Award

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation presents plaque to Horan & McConaty

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On April 14th, members of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation and the Aurora Police Department presented the staff of Horan and McConaty Funeral Service with a plaque thanking them for their continued support of fallen officers in Colorado.  When we gathered our staff for this presentation we were surprised to learn that Lt. Steven Redfearn is the man who saved the life of the daughter of our co-worker and Advance Planner Heidi Soudani. Heidi came to the presentation not knowing that Lt. Redfearn would be there and was deeply moved that the man who saved her daughter’s life had come to present an expression of appreciation to Horan & McConaty. Lt. Redfearn made the courageous call on the night of the Aurora Theater shootings to take injured to hospitals in Aurora police vehicles when there were no more ambulances available. Heidi spoke to our staff about what happened that night and her certainty that had Lt. Redfearn not made the courageous call to immediately transport her daughter, she would have died. Michael Wellensiek, my partners Jennifer Sutter McBride and Daren Forbes , our entire team, and I appreciate Lt. Redfearn, Commander Ernie Ortiz, and the important mission of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.  www.coloradofallenheroesmemorial.org

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Caregiver of the Month – Chaplain Rosalee Blake

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Chaplain Rosalee Blake is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty. She was nominated by Laura Bodmer from Agape Hospice.

I nominate Rosalee Blake, Chaplain with Agape Hospice for the Caregiver Award. I have had such privilege in working with Rosalee as our team chaplain.

Often in this work we find ourselves going from one urgent need to another and this can cause great anxiety. Despite the hustle and bustle of maintaining high caseloads and high patient, family and facility needs, Rosalee always brings with her a calm and calming presence. She is able to sit with the patients and their families during high stress moments offering such compassion, warmth and empathy for their experiences. She truly honors where the patient is in his or her end of life journey.

On countless occasions I have been lucky enough to witness just how much support she brings to patients and their families even as they might feel their worlds are crashing down around them, Rosalee brings love and light to them and holds space for them to process their life, experiences, and losses. Each time Rosalee offers prayer for a patient, I have seen immediate relief. Rosalee’s ability to offer gentle, and patient focused prayer is really something special to be present for. I see the patient and/or families relax, and a look of calm sweeps over their faces, and their bodies. No other discipline is able to do this so remarkably. Rosalee, our chaplain offers such beautiful care to our patients and families at times of existential crisis, acceptance and peace.

Sincerely,

Laura Bodmer

Agape Social Worker

 

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Caregiver Award

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

 

Caregiver of the Month – Chaplain Tom Simbo

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Chaplain Tom Simbo is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty. Tom was nominated by Julie King.

I am recognizing and honoring Chaplain Tom Simbo for his kindness and attentiveness during the time before my husband was in hospice, during hospice, on the day of his death and that evening. He also assisted my family and prepared a most beautiful eulogy, with sincerity and love.

He is a caring, loving and patient hospice caregiver… always there for me… always kind.

Sincerely,

Julie King

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Caregiver Award

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

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