You Have Two Months to Live

paula-poolImagine the shock.

The news is literally unbelievable. What does one do?

Paula believed.

Paula believed in her husband, a pastor. She believed in her family, her two grown children, Naomi and Nathaniel, her brothers and sisters. Her dad. She believed in her church. She believed in making sure the family got together for birthdays and holidays.

At every gathering she performed rap songs. The family thought they were hilarious. She drew cartoons.

When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years ago, she believed she’d get through it. And she did.

On August 20th of this year Paula awoke with a swollen stomach. A week later it went away, only to come back again. She went in for tests. Nobody believed it could be cancer. As a cancer survivor, Paula was screened frequently and regularly. It had to be something else.

It wasn’t.

Paula was given two months to live.

The family was in shock. The congregation in disbelief. Paula accepted the situation with a grace that was inspirational to all those around her. A large part of that was because of her experience at Hospice Hawaii.

When her care became too great a burden on her family, it was Paula who chose Hospice Hawaii. She was met there with so much compassion and professionalism that her family was overwhelmed. It was almost like a homecoming.

And that’s when Paula’s family began to believe.

The staff at Hospice Hawaii attended to Paula’s every need, as well as to the needs of her family. Her comfort was their paramount concern and they were with her around the clock. She could eat very little, drink very little. The staff made sure she got the right nutrition at the right time. That her medical needs were met. They helped orchestrate the flow of visitors. They helped the family bear the burden.

Paula loved being in the swimming pool. Loved the warmth of the sun. So the staff brought her a bright, pink floating chair. Paula spent hours in the water. Watching Paula enjoy the feeling of weightlessness, of floating, affected the other patients and the staff. And mostly, her family. Paula radiated a kind of tranquility that was nothing short of inspirational. Yes, she would pass. But one look at her in the water, so at peace, and her family believed everything was okay. That they would be okay.

By helping Paula find peace, Hospice Hawaii helped her entire family find peace. And through the family, an entire congregation.

Paula passed with the same grace that saw her through her final days. Her husband was there with her at the end, as was the Hospice Hawaii staff. Her husband was not aware that they had quietly closed the door to Paula’s room so the two of them could share their final moments together in privacy. One of the countless small gestures that so moved Paula’s family.