Welcome to Hilary Baar’s Page!
This matters … even more now!
Considering that I’m a fundraiser by profession, this is the hardest bit of fundraising that I’ve ever had to do. Writing the personal story of why I support The Community Hospice Foundation, in Albany, is reliving the passing of my Mom. But, in reliving that story, what comes to mind is the incredible care that my Mom (and my sister and I) received from Community Hospice … and, why I care so deeply about this group and felt compelled to participate in their virtual fundraising walk.
I’m participating in the Walk The Web for Hospice on June 13th. All money raised will go to support the important coronavirus-related work Community Hospice is doing. Participants will be walking safely around their homes, neighborhoods or on a favorite hiking path, all while maintaining social distance. And, at the same time, I’ll be honoring my Mom, Leonora, who always offered to be a donor to any nonprofit where I was employed.
So, why The Community Hospice Foundation? I’d like to share a few stories that are, admittedly, bittersweet, but I think convey why I care about this organization so much.
We knew right away this was a special place when, after a very long day trying to work with a paid nurse’s aide, a hospice nurse came by. She quickly made mom comfortable, instructed us on the changing of linen and bedding, and listened to our fears and concerns. And, to her credit she also didn’t bat an eye when my sister, pleading for more help, tried to bribe her with her 3-carat diamond ring. (Yes, we still laugh about this. And, yes, Mom wouldn’t have been surprised.)
But that nurse listened, and hospice provided someone more often to make sure Mom was comfortable and well-tended.
And then, when it became very clear that Mom was transitioning, a late-night call had another hospice nurse at our doorstep. This time, the business was more serious and there were instructions on morphine doses and the like. Now with hindsight I can more appreciate the balancing act that these hospice nurses undertake — their utmost goal is ensuring the patient is comfortable and cared for, while having to navigate the families’ fears and anxieties.
This navigation was quite apparent on the day Mom passed. Our priceless hospice nurse arrived in the morning and after she allowed me to hold onto her (with a vice tight grip) she quickly made Mom the important one. She got her washed, changed and (again) comfortable — while I’m sure knowing that there were just hours left to this journey. It was a precious gift and one that I fear is different in today’s world.
And, after Mom passed, a social worker arrived (what felt like) immediately and she called a chaplain to pray over Mom. We prayed and the chaplain sang while we stood holding hands — and, the social worker holding onto Mom. It was a moment that is indescribable but helped in my healing.
But their work wasn’t done … my niece had tried to make it back to see her grandmother before she passed but arrived an hour afterwards. Knowing this would be difficult, another hospice nurse offered to come back when the funeral director arrived and to speak to my niece. I’m so thankful for these gifts.
We still laugh about the (attempted) bribe and I can still feel the support my family received from every single hospice nurse that tended Mom. They were part of a very personal journey and became treasured partners so quickly.
In evaluating our time caring for Mom, I understand it is a privilege that sadly many families are not able to experience now. And, for that my heart is heavy, which is why I chose to participate in this virtual walk, and why I’m reaching out to ask if you would consider a gift to provide this essential care to the families hurting most right now.
You’ll provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to patients and staff, help add additional staff for increased bereavement services and Palliative Care visits, and purchase additional equipment such as iPads, as many of their hospice patients have to say goodbye to loved ones virtually.
Clearly, I care about this mission because I can’t imagine my sister and I navigating this journey without Community Hospice. They gave my family a caring heart, comfort, and most of all respect when we needed it most. I’m walking so that other people can have that as well.
If you can, I hope you’ll consider joining me by making a donation. From me and my family, thank you! Be well!!