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The Main Event(s)
By Barbara Ivanko

Aside from our winter of “polar vortexes,” the last several months have been pretty busy:

  • Pittsburgh inaugurated a new Mayor.
  • The Grammys were telecast – and featured a Beatles reunion, of sorts.
  • Facebook celebrated ten years on the web, with nearly 1.2 billion users.

As these and other events take place, we find that life goes on. No matter who gets elected, no matter who wins a Grammy, life continues.

For the patients and families we serve at Family Hospice and Palliative Care, big events are taking place all the time.

And they’re much more important than awards or elections.

I think of Donna, a patient at our Family Hospice Inpatient Center in Lawrenceville, who wanted to renew her marriage vows before she died. So, with the help of our staff, a wedding ceremony was staged in the chapel, complete with flowers. Thanks to Donna’s sharing spirit, the video of that event may be found on our Family Hospice YouTube channel.

There’s Ann and Tim, a sister and brother who donated $1,000 to have their father’s name placed on our Celebration of Life Wall in Mt. Lebanon. They were so passionate about the care Dad received that they chose to give back by honoring him permanently on a beautiful granite structure.

And there’s Thomas. A World War II veteran, he already had earned two Purple Hearts, four Bronze Stars and a Presidential citation. Thanks to Thomas’ service in Normandy and at the Battle of the Bulge, he was honored a couple years back by the French government. He graciously allowed members of our staff to be on-hand when the French government presented him with the prestigious “Legion d’ Honneur” medal.

The truth is, Family Hospice patients display their graciousness daily by allowing us to be witness to - and participants in – these major life events. As the world continues to swirl around us, I find myself grateful for what I learn from our patients: that no wish is too small; that every event is meaningful and that it’s totally worth taking the time to stop and put it all into perspective.

Barbara Ivanko, President and CEO of Family Hospice and Palliative Care, may be reached at bivanko@familyhospice.com or (412) 572-8800. Family Hospice and Palliative Care is a non-profit organization serving nine counties in Western Pennsylvania. More information at www.FamilyHospice.com and www.facebook.com/FamilyHospicePA.

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