Blessed by Care, Wisdom, & Ongoing Support
As shared by David Riddle, Spouse of Hospice Patient
My wife, Peggy Riddle, entered hospice care in October 2019 and entered heaven on February 8, 2020. Throughout that time, our family was repeatedly blessed by the care, wisdom, and ongoing support from Peggy’s care team at Four Seasons.
Thank you, Dr. Sewell, for your help at the start, when Peggy was first enrolled for palliative care. It seems
amazing now, but during that time, Peggy flew on her own to Albuquerque to spend some days with her sister. She was determined to make this trip while she was still able, and although it was a challenge, with your assistance and guidance toward the best medications, she did it. Both she and her sister were blessed to be able to spend this time together.Thank you, Dr. Kovaz, for your in-person visits, and for your oversight of Peggy’s care. Peggy loved the way you were “right there with her” as you asked questions and offered suggestions. Your question, “What would you do if you did have the energy?” was a motivation to undertake a family heritage photo project as a Christmas gift for our daughter’s brand-new baby, our first grandson, born November 18, 2019. This gift serves as an introduction to generations of individuals baby Jack will never meet (or never remember meeting). This project turned into a family endeavor. Our son helped Peggy record a narrative to accompany the photos, and I added some written accounts with more details.
Thank you, Beth, for your regular visits to our home. Your weekly, then daily, presence near the end always brought peace and your confidence helped us to be better caregivers during the times between. You consistently showed your heart for this kind of nursing, and I agree that it is something you are called to, which is a blessing that works both in giving and receiving.
Thank you, Christina, for your help on the weekend Peggy died. Your calmness and helpful recommendations during our midnight crisis were invaluable. Your compassionate, sensitive, and professional care for us after Peggy had left her body behind was, and still is, much appreciated.
There were many others as well who helped in various capacities. Brenda, Nicole, and Sally came up the long and winding road to see Peggy in person. I spoke with Jennifer a number of times with a host of questions that always received helpful answers. I know there were others who fielded my questions, but I didn’t write down all the names. But please know, you are all very much appreciated.
Peggy’s passing was peaceful at the end, and I think you’ll appreciate a brief account of how it happened.
Our son, Christopher, and I were tired from administering hourly medicine, and though we’d been taking shifts at night, we thought a break might be good. I called a close friend of Peggy’s who is a retired hospice nurse herself, as well as a pastor’s wife, and she agreed to come and sit with Peggy from 7-11 PM on Saturday night, while the rest of our family, who were all present in our home, got some rest.
After talking Marilyn through the medicine and the schedule, I went upstairs to bed at about 7:10 PM. I was just getting myself settled in with the kitty beside me when Marilyn called my name from the bottom of the
stairs. I assumed I’d neglected some instruction and went down to see. When I entered the bedroom, Marilyn said, “She’s gone.” The time was 7:20 PM. Marilyn also said, “I’ve attended at multiple deaths, and this
was one of the most peaceful I’ve seen. When you left the room to go upstairs, I settled down in the chair by the bed. Peggy’s breathing changed and the rattle stopped. I began timing her breaths, and in about 10 minutes she had breathed her last.”
Peggy’s love for planning was evident until the end. Marilyn and Peggy had undertaken a time of meeting together for Bible Study in the months before she enrolled for hospice care. Marilyn shared that Peggy had requested that Marilyn help her prepare for her death, knowing that Marilyn also had a background in Christian counseling. She also talked on the phone for an hour with our former pastor, planning her memorial service.
Peggy maintained a light-hearted attitude throughout the planning of her service, as did we. Even when Peggy was no longer conscious enough to respond, we believed she was hearing the things we said and laughed about. We hadn’t exactly planned her passing, but there was an unspoken idea of the family gathered around her bed to bid her farewell as she departed for heaven. But the afternoon before she died, Christopher and I were in the bedroom, and in a light-hearted, but meaningful way I said, “Peggy you can have this (your dying) any way you want it. You talk to Jesus, and y’all work it out together. Whatever you two decide is okay with us.” It only took a couple of hours for them to come up with a plan. Curiously, the plan included no family present at her departure; just the dear friend who had helped her prepare and plan for this moment.
It does me good to share my story and to say once again, thank you for your part in the story,
parts you all played exceedingly well. May the Lord Himself continue to bless you in your work and
may those you serve continue to receive His blessings through your compassion, love, and care.