Bret Myers learned some of the finer things about nursing from his mother, Amy Myers, who spent her 34-year nursing career at Sarah Bush Lincoln, first on the medical-surgical units, and then as a hospice nurse for Lincolnland Hospice of Sarah Bush Lincoln.
When Bret became a nurse, he walked his mother’s path, who mentored him as a hospice nurse, teaching him how to care for people at the end of their lives and care for their family members who are left grieving a loss.
“Her mission in life was to bring joy and comfort to others, especially in times of need,” Bret explained. “That’s one of the reasons she was such an amazing mom, grandma and hospice nurse. She would do the kindest things for people without being asked, and expected absolutely nothing in return.”
Amy retired from Lincolnland Hospice of Sarah Bush Lincoln a year ago, and sadly died in September, a week after being injured in a car accident.
Bret explained, “She would go to great lengths to ease anyone’s burdens, or to bring just a little bit of comfort during a time of pain, or despair. Nursing is difficult work. It is long hours, sometimes without a break. It is late nights and early mornings. It is a lot of documentation. It is waking doctors in the middle of the night for new orders. It is witnessing pain and suffering on a daily basis. It is exposing yourself to injury or disease. It is missing weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays. And above all, it is leaving your own family to care for someone else’s. She made these sacrifices because she truly cared about people.”
Bret and his family fully understand the kind of person Amy was and want to honor her by donating to Sarah Bush Lincoln’s capital campaign, The most important home you’ll ever build to help fund a hospice house on the SBL main campus. The campaign hopes to raise $2.5 million with $1 million earmarked for construction, and $1.5 million for an endowment fund to help pay for costs for people without sufficient resources.
A hospice house is for people who are near the end of their life and do not want to pass at home, in a hospital or long-term care facility. Terminally ill people may also use the hospice house while their caregiver receives respite care elsewhere. Slated for construction in the early spring, it will include eight suites with beautiful views of the pond, a walking path and gardens, a communal family room, kitchen, library, children’s play area.
In reminiscing about his mother, Bret explained that Amy would often go to great lengths to help people in need. She redecorated the child’s room of a patient; decorated homes for Christmas so the family could have extra time with their loved ones; and made hundreds of blankets, pillows and bears from favorite clothing items of the hospice patient so family could feel their loved one near them.
“I’ve since found my passion as an ER nurse, but learned that hospice is a very rewarding specialty. It is not meant to heal the body, but to provide comfort for patients and family. For people who think there is nothing more that can be done to help someone, in hospice there is always something more that we can do. My Mother proved that,” Bret explained.
Bret enjoys the challenges of the fast-paced ER environment. Last Thanksgiving, his mother came to the SBL Emergency Department where he was working to bring food and snacks for him and his co-workers just to bring the holiday to them. “She was always doing the most thoughtful things for others with no desire for recognition,” he said.
“When I heard about the plans for this hospice house, it was as if my mom was speaking to me –‘here’s a way,’” he said. Many of Amy’s former co-workers and Bret’s co-workers have donated to the hospice house in her honor with the hopes of donating enough to have a room named for her.
If you would like to donate to the SBL Hospice House capital campaign in Amy Myers’ honor, or to make another donation, please contact SBL Health Foundation at 217 258-2511.