When Lynne Miller received the news that there was nothing more that could be done to help her severe emphysema, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she chose Lincolnland Hospice for palliative care.
“It was hard at first,” Lynne’s daughter, Kim VanSant, recalled. “In January 2019, the doctors gave her a few months to live, but my mom was a fighter and was so strong. She lived for another seven months and really enjoyed her time.”
Lynne moved in with Kim and her husband, Dennis, in rural Marshall where Lynne enjoyed family and received the care she needed. “My mom was the most giving and caring person. She worked three jobs at one time to help take care for our family, and she sacrificed for my brother and me. One of her jobs was as a caregiver for older people in their homes,” Kim said. Through it all, Kim remembers her mom as happy. “We always laughed a lot together,” she said.
“Every summer, we rent a 15-person van and 12 of our family members take a vacation together including my brother Kevin and his family. I thought my mom was too weak to make the trip to Missouri two years ago, but she insisted. She didn’t want to miss the vacation and time with family. Mom just loved it!” Kim reminisced. “I am so glad she insisted. It was a wonderful trip.”
With Linconland Hospice visiting Lynne in their home, it made it so much easier for the family. “It was hard at first, but I am so glad we had hospice. The staff showed me how to turn my mom and bathe her – how to care for her. They were so helpful,” Kim said. “Sometimes when they were leaving, I’d walk outside with them and just cry. No matter how many times I asked the same questions, they’d answer me with such kindness and compassion. It was a blessing to have hospice.”
Kim explained that from the first visit with Lincolnland Hospice nurse Tiffany Jones, the family bonded with her. “She made us all feel very comfortable. She would sit and visit with all of us and laugh along like she was part of the family. She would always ask how we were doing, and as Mom’s passing was getting closer and she noted changes in Mom, Tiffany assured us that it was just part of the process.”
Katie Brown, who serves as a Lincolnland Hospice social worker, is also remembered lovingly. “She answered all of our questions and told us that when the time [of death] came, we should call Lincolnland Hospice and that the staff would take care of everything for us. And they did!”
Kim said she will never forget that on the day before her mother passed, nurse Tiffany and her fiancé, who were getting married the following day, stopped by to tell Lynne goodbye. “She told my mom that she loved her and took the time to tell us it was going to be okay. Katie came by too. They certainly didn’t have to do that.” Lynne passed on October 5, 2019.
Kim considers Lincolnland Hospice staff more than caretakers, but rather friends who share a deep experience. “We know mom’s in Heaven. She loved Jesus and she went so peacefully. It is an experience I will never forget,” Kim added.