Fred received an unexpected telephone call from a hospice nurse named Mary. Mary told Fred that his father, whom he hadn’t spoken to in more than 50 years, wanted to see him. He was dying. After much thought and prayer, Fred agreed. Hospice Mary (as Fred called her) was there to help them communicate and get to know each other and they were both able to forgive. Fred told his father, “Forget the past, let’s just enjoy the time we have left.”
Hospice Mary told Fred that it would be unlikely that his father would live until Christmas, which was only a month away, so Fred made an effort to visit his father whenever possible. To everyone’s surprise, his father did make it to Christmas and to his birthday in March. Fred, his sister Mary and the hospice team planned a surprise birthday party for Fred’s father and invited family members from all over the state. This was the first time the family had been together in more than 40 years. The hospice team shared weekly updates with all of the family members, including Fred’s grown children who had just met their grandfather for the first time.
During his time on hospice, Fred’s father had often talked about his military experiences. With the help of the hospice team, Fred’s sister was able to identify World War II medals that their father had never received. A ceremony to present him with these important awards was held in his honor. The day after the ceremony, Fred’s father told Hospice Mary that it was time. Fred and his sister gathered to be with their father during his last moments.
Fred’s father lived months longer than expected. They were given a second chance and were able to put the past behind them. With the help of hospice, Fred was able to be a son again.