Our Why

 

The mission of Cherished Connections Hospice Home is to enhance the

quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a

terminal illness.

  The one thing guaranteed in life is death and sometimes we may never

know or understand why. Families live with deep pain and regret,

causing them to never find joy or smile again after loss. My name is

Christa McDonald RN/Creator of Cherished Connections Hospice Home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter it means a lot for

you to read my story so you understand why.

Starting out in the medical field at 13 years old volunteering as a

candy striper at a hospital on weekends my mother worked in. She has

been a nurse 46yrs now, I'm grateful for her being the example of what

caring for patients truly looks like. The gift at a young age I

received was being able to connect with patients and families and help

them when they were most vulnerable and needed someone. I saw what a

difference I could make asking if they wanted ice or a blanket.

Patients and families opened up to me in ways I never understood. What

I know now is I was someone to listen and care about the small things

that meant so much to them, I just got ice out of an ice machine I was

thinking, but they were thinking I’m not alone.  16 years old I was in

training to become a certified nursing assistant and one of my 1st

patients I was caring for on my own was a cute elderly lady. White

shiny hair big smile loved her family. I was giving her a bed bath I

remember feeling a strong sense of peace, calmness and remembering the

sun was shining bright in her room. All of sudden the teacher came up

behind me and said Christa she 's dead. I had no clue in that moment.

The next day some students didn’t come to school due to it being hard

for them, I was called into a meeting to make sure I was okay and I

was.  I told  my mom that I didn’t think I was meant to be a nurse, I

had no clue my patient was dead, little did I know this would be my

passion, purpose and calling in life.

I became a volunteer EMT at 18, with my local ambulance and was

employed in the Emergency Room for a few years. I experienced deaths,

with families that were unimaginable, yet still I was able to provide

some peace and healing to families, still had no answers, somehow, I

knew it was okay not knowing why. I got stuck when I saw families

going thru the pain and suffering, feeling they can’t move forward, I

just kept thinking it doesn’t have to be like this.  I was a CNA for 5

years, LVN at 21, then became an RN at 23 years old and entered into

the Home Health/Hospice field working in all areas.

Now at 36 years old, my purpose and passion in creating this is to

provide a safe place  for patients and families to prepare for their

next journey in life with ease, comfort and support.  One thought that

is connected to hospice is morphine families always express they feel

like they are “killing” their loved one. That’s not the truth at all.

Research from the early 1900’s shows 4 stages of pain and morphine

helps with one stage of pain which is physical pain. The other 3

stages are social, emotional/phycological and spiritual pain. Those

stages are associated with the dying patient and their thoughts of

guilt, regret, fear, anxiety, anger. Morphine may not always help if

we don’t address the other stages of pain.

Top 5 regrets of the dying

1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not life

others expected of me

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

5. I wish I let myself be happier

In all the years of listening and helping patients and families at

the end of life,  I allowed them the opportunity to share their life

story and accomplishments we all have them we just don’t always

realize it. It brought patients peace and satisfaction with who they

are and what they have created in their life. It’s never too late is a

true statement I have seen reconciliation of families, relationships

restored never thought would be possible. Believe in something!  A

consistent reason over the years families struggle so much after

experiencing loss, sounds like this “I should have been there more,

helped out more I didn’t know they were that sick.” We all get busy

with “I have to” and the hustle of life, which I get myself. I’m here

to create awareness and tell you if death is guaranteed, NO ONE is

guaranteed tomorrow. What will you do different today? Every single

person in this world has made a difference somehow, let’s start to

focus on the gifts people bring to us, we all are doing the best we

can with what we know how. Pain is inevitable suffering is optional.

I want to express how grateful I’m for all the love and support that

has come my way to start this home, I almost have no words! I declared

August 7th, 2010 that I was going to start a hospice home with hopes

patients and families can view death differently and be able to find

that peaceful place at the end of their life. Allow family members and

caregivers to celebrate their loved one’s accomplishments and gifts

they have learned and will use along the way to CHERISH FOREVER! Your

Loved One Matters!