We had heard nothing but good things about the House, but we really didn’t know what to expect. My sister met my Mom, my niece, and me at the door when we arrived behind the ambulance that afternoon, and she looked to be in awe and told us how beautiful the place was. When we drove up, the first thing we noticed was the beautiful landscaping, the peaceful aura of the place itself, and the warm, inviting atmosphere of the building. We had been told that we would meet with Dr. Jones when we arrived, but honestly, I thought that meant we would see him for 5 minutes at some point after we got there when it was convenient for him. What impressed me the most was the second we walked in. As the team was getting Dad settled in his new room, we were greeted by an extremely friendly volunteer who welcomed us and ushered us into a room where Dr. Jones was waiting for us. He had been briefed on Dad’s condition, had read through his chart, and was ready to meet with us upon arrival. It was almost as if he was on our time and our family and Dad were his highest priority at that moment. He took the time to tell us what had happened with Dad to get him to this point, what we could expect, and answered any and all questions we had. That set the stage amazingly for the rest of Dad’s stay there.
The night Dad arrived, either by coincidence or by the providence of God above, the supper they were serving was what Dad had told us in Bangor he wanted for lunch but didn’t get because he left too early. The volunteer added specific sodas and snacks he wanted to her grocery list for the next day, which, as it turned out, Dad ended up not enjoying because his health started to decline after that first day. When we left him that night, we knew he was in the best place possible for him, and we left with an appreciation and comfort, knowing that he would be taken care of in the best way possible for however long he had left with us. Throughout the next few days, the staff and volunteers showed time and time again what huge hearts and compassion they have for the patient and their families, which we cannot thank them enough for. On August 8, the staff told my Mom that Dad’s time was growing short and that if he had family that was away, they should probably think of coming home. So, my wife, children, and I headed home from a quick trip downstate, and we arrived at the House at 4:00 pm. We stayed until 8:00, knowing my mother would spend the night with Dad that night since time was growing short and that she would call us if anything changed, and we needed to come back. On that evening, we got to meet a very special nurse named Rebecca Sirois, who in talking to, I realized we had a connection through her boyfriend, whom I used to work with in a former job. She was a very kind-hearted and sweet young lady that talked to us, tried to comfort us, and just be with us. In the midst of a conversation with her, Dad needed to have his lips moistened because he couldn’t drink at that point, so she had moistened a swab with water and wet his mouth for him. My mother jokingly made a comment about how much Dad loved Moxie when he used to drink soda and it was too bad that she used water instead of Moxie. Fast forward about an hour or so, Rebecca was leaving for the night after her shift. Shortly after she left, she returned with a bottle of Moxie in hand.
She had left the House after her shift ended, bought Dad a Moxie out of her own money, and brought it back, and gave Dad a taste of it. We were so touched and thankful for this young lady that words couldn’t and still can’t express how grateful we still are for that small act of kindness. To know that one of the last sensations Dad consciously enjoyed was the simple taste of his favorite drink brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. And it’s all because of this one act from this kind, selfless, generous young lady that we met a couple of hours before. Dad passed away later that night, and when our family gathered at his bedside afterwards to say goodbye, the House staff was so amazing and so incredibly kind. They didn’t try to rush us out. They all expressed their condolences with words and hugs and showed the kindness and grace we had come to see from them over the prior several days.