Please welcome Maribeth Domanski, CVHHH’s Fall Honorary Appeal Chair. Maribeth is a longtime resident of North Middlesex, Vermont, where she lived with her husband OW (whose given name was Harold, though everyone knew him as OW), for 40 years.
The Fall Appeal is raising funds to ensure that all Central Vermonters can access end-of-life care where and when they want it and, like OW, experience a good death on their own terms. Below is a copy of the letter Maribeth wrote and shared with Central Vermonters for the Fall Appeal. The letter was mailed in November to members of the community.
During the final days of my husband’s life, as friends and family came to say their goodbyes, they often remarked on the calm peacefulness in our home. On the very day of OW’s death, it was especially true. A soft blue sky in January with a new light snow sparkling on the trees outside his windows felt like a blessing. We held each other and listened to the music that played when we danced in the kitchen just a week before.
OW (whose given name was Harold, though everyone knew him as OW) was diagnosed with a rare white blood cell disease while in his mid-50s. For the next 15 years he enjoyed a full life with family and friends, and he especially treasured time with his three grandchildren. Throughout, he juggled many medical interventions, including monthly trips to Boston as a part of a long clinical study. At a certain point, it became clear he needed to take a different approach. OW knew for certain that he did not want to return to the hospital, and reassured me: “Dying is hard, but it’s normal.” He was determined to have this normal process happen at home.
I called CVHHH’s Hospice team, whose nurses, therapists, aides, and social workers became our support system through the end of OW’s life. Somehow, they seemed to know just how much care to offer without ever giving too much or being intrusive. They were respectful, responsive, and attentive, and they honored OW’s wish to be involved in the decisions about his care. They provided a map of what to expect as OW declined, and they guided us through the process. We couldn’t have done everything on our own, and luckily, we did not have to. CVHHH was right by our sides, and OW had a beautiful death. It was just what he wanted, and I am forever grateful to Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice for making it possible.
OW died almost three years ago, and I continue to grieve his loss. I welcomed the compassionate support provided by CVHHH’s Bereavement Coordinator, Diana Moore, which was available to me for 15 months following OW’s death.
I share my story with the community because I want more people to understand what a gift Hospice is. CVHHH’s Hospice team listened to us. They knew how much OW loved our home at the foot of Mount Hunger and that it was important for us to be together. CVHHH allowed him a dignified and peaceful death.
CVHH’s hospice team provided care that created space for us to be together and focus on what mattered most at the end of OW’s life.
Your gift to the Fall Appeal ensures that Central Vermonters can access compassionate end-of-life care when and where they want it, at home. Click the button below to contribute via our secure online forms.