David Raymond Shares How What Mattered Most to His Mother, Mattered Most to Four Seasons
At Four Seasons, what matters most to you matters most to us. But what does that mean in actual practice? David Raymond and his family experienced this commitment to our patients first-hand when his mother, Mehri Ettehadieh Stull, needed Four Seasons’ care.
Needing More Care
My mother was adamant that she wanted to stay in her home as she aged. As she started to decline, we recognized that she couldn’t stay in her home alone, but she still wanted to be fiercely independent. For a while, we worked with members of our church to help my mother with life’s daily routines. These wonderful volunteers did amazing work, and we were so grateful for their help. But in January 2023, it was clear that my mother needed more care than they could provide. After a significant fall, one of the church volunteers mentioned to me that it might be time to call for more care and recommended Four Seasons.
Admission to Four Seasons
I was amazed at how quickly everything happened. We took my mother home and a nurse from Four Seasons came within 24 hours to assess her for admission. She was quickly admitted. My mother needed 24/7 care and the nurses came regularly and often to help us. After 5 days in Four Seasons’ care, my mother began to decline significantly. One of our amazing nurses, Sonya, sat down with me and kindly said “It’s hard to be there for your mother and grieve for her while you are also her caretaker. You need a break.” She was right. Sonya and our care team arranged for my mother to be transported to Elizabeth House for respite care.
Moving to Elizabeth House
It’s important to understand that one of my mother’s greatest fears was being in a nursing home at the end of her life, so this was a difficult decision for us to make at first. But when I entered Elizabeth House, all those worries evaporated. I was immediately impressed with the humanity of the staff at Four Seasons. Elizabeth House didn’t feel like a medical facility; it felt like home.
After a few days at Elizabeth House, my mother said she didn’t want to go home because she loved it there so much. This sentiment provided immense relief for me; we did the right thing by calling Four Seasons. As her final days approached, I was continually impressed by how frequently the staff of Elizabeth House checked in on my mother and how clearly they communicated with us what was happening. Because they clearly and honestly communicated with me, I was able to do the same with my mother. I explained to her what the doctors and nurses had explained to me, giving us the opportunity to talk about what she wanted in her final days. The care Four Seasons provided allowed me to just be her son instead of having to be her caregiver first. My mother picked the outfit she wanted to be buried in during this time, as well. This was one of the greatest gifts Four Seasons gave us: that my mother, I, and our family were able to embrace her death in a calm and prepared way.
What Matters Most to You, Matters Most to Us
One thing I appreciated most at Four Seasons is that they truly respect and celebrate life. As she was declining, my mother got her birthday mixed up with another special date in her life. Although we knew this wasn’t really her birthday, the staff at Four Seasons brought in a cake to celebrate with her and us. The staff participated in our joy of celebrating my mother’s beautiful life. Friends and family were also welcome.
When we first came to Elizabeth House, I had talked with the staff about how they could honor our view of reality and death. Our family believes that the process of dying is just as important as that of birth. To us, death is sacred and is a certainty we must all address. So, when my mother died, we wanted to partake in ritual and take our time to say a proper goodbye. It was also important to us that we be able to continue working with our death doula. A death doula helps guide you through the loss of a loved one through emotional and physical support, education about what is to come, and guidance during the grieving process. Four Seasons welcomed her involvement, even asking questions about her role when they wanted to learn more.
On my mother’s last day of life, Elizabeth House called me and my wife to let us know that it was time, and my mother would likely die within the day. My mother passed just minutes before we arrived at Elizabeth House. This is when we truly experienced Four Seasons’ promise that what matters most to you, matters most to them.
We called our death doula who came quickly. The staff allowed us time and space to cleanse my mother’s body and anoint her with oil. We turned on Persian music to honor her Persian heritage. We dressed her in the outfit she chose, wrapped her in cloth, and adorned her with roses. The nurses simply watched quietly and assisted us as we needed them. Our death doula then transported my mother to the Center of Conscious Living to be prepared for burial. This process was sacred and important to us and my mother. We were allowed to just “be” at Four Seasons. There was no pressure to follow a rigid step-by-step process after my mother died. What was most important to us was truly most important to them.
Family and Ongoing Support
While my mother was in Four Seasons’ care, there was also so much support for myself and our family. We were supported by volunteers with a wide variety of skills and support, including acupuncture and massage therapy. Where else can you receive amazing medical treatment for your loved one while you are also cared for in such a special way? Only at Four Seasons is this possible. Four Seasons is a holistic organization and not overly structured, allowing families and loved ones to say goodbye as they desire.
And yet, Four Seasons’ support didn’t end there. As we continued to grieve the loss of my mother, we were faced with what to do with her beloved belongings. We knew we wanted to give back to Four Seasons for the amazing care, love, and compassion they had given my mother and us during one of the most difficult times of our lives. So, we called the Hospice Home Store and donated her estate. The Home Store filled all 4 of their box trucks with items from my mother’s home, and after the house was sold, they returned for the rest. I later learned that the donation from my mother’s home was used to furnish the temporary location in Fletcher which opened after the Arden store experienced a devastating fire. What an honor to have been able to give back in such a meaningful way to an organization that meant so much to us.
I am forever grateful for what Four Seasons did for my mother, me, and our family.
You can trust that when you’re in Four Seasons’ care, what matters most to you matters most to us because we are The Care You Trust. It’s never too early to call Four Seasons; we are here for you. If your loved one is in need of care, call Four Seasons today. You are never alone at Four Seasons.