Letters From Patient Families & Thrift Shoppers
Dear Hospice East Bay,
Before my wife Rennie came under hospice care, we were somewhat familiar with what hospice provided, but were unaware of all your organization did for the comfort of terminally ill patients.
Since February, we were continually amazed by the professionalism and competence of each member of your staff who came to our home to assist and care for Rennie. Jean Drouillard, RN, truly impressed us with her compassion most of all. Whenever we needed something, Jean would place the order over the phone while she was here, and then the medications or equipment would arrive the same day.
We marveled at the consistent high caliber of all your personnel — nurses, home health aides, spiritual advisor, and case worker. They seamlessly worked together and backed up one another. The smoothness and continuity contributed to keeping Rennie’s mind at ease and creating a peaceful and positive environment for her last months and days.
Thank you for all that Hospice East Bay has done for Rennie and our family over these past months.
Dear Hospice of the East Bay,
I just had to tell you that my dad sold his house in Walnut Creek and it has been pretty stressful trying to get rid of everything in a very short period of time, as he moves into a condo in Rossmoor. Hospice of the East Bay came today with a big truck and took EVERYTHING.
I know your organization will be able to benefit from the furniture and appreciate the donation, but I’m not sure you understand how much this has helped us. This saved my dad (and me and my brothers, frankly) a TON of stress. We had started putting ads on Craigslist and spent hours selling and giving away individual items that way, but it was really time consuming and we were about to give up and pay someone to come haul everything away. We called MANY organizations trying to donate the furniture, and none of them was able to come except for you guys.
Please pass this on to anyone there that needs to know how grateful we are to be able to donate to Hospice of the East Bay. You also helped us 2 years ago when my mom passed away, and for that we are eternally grateful as well.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Dear Ms. Hatton,
We would like to take the time to formally express our gratitude for John Marksbury, RN, who cared for our father, Mike Manyak. During the four weeks our father was in the care of Hospice of the East Bay, John quite simply, made the whole experience better.
To say our dad was a very particular person is an understatement. Yet, from his first meeting, John formed a warm, communicative relationship. One of his most outstanding qualities is that he has a way of getting his work done and at the same time share stories, exchange laughter and get to know one another. In the short time we had Dad in hospice, we came to feel that John folded right into our family.
The other quality that stands out is the compassionate care John provided. While being compassionate is most likely a part of his professional role as a hospice nurse, John brought more. We’ll never forget the time John paused on his way out, kissed my dad on top of his head, and said, “you’re a good man, Mike.”
While we don’t know if it’s procedure for the hospice nurse to clean and dress the deceased patient, John did. When the family came in and said our final goodbyes, Dad looked so dignified and at peace. It set our hearts at ease knowing that Dad was in John’s hands during his transition and after he passed.
There’s one other thing that we’d like to mention even though it doesn’t relate directly to Dad’s care. Often John’s visits overlapped with the visits of aides. We witnessed the obvious rapport and respect he had with each one, and vice versa. And, as appropriate, we watched as John mentored an aide who was in training to become a nurse.
In closing, John responded promptly and with compassion and concern for all routine matters and those that were beyond. Our whole experience was made better by him. We are so grateful that John was our dad’s nurse.
Michael, Anne, and Tashina Manyak.
Dear Bruns Staff,
We offer our deepest thanks to the entire staff of Bruns House. The loving way you comforted and cared for our father, Larry Prato, during his last days helped ease some of our pain. The kind, caring and dignified manner in which you treat the end of life will remain a treasured memory.
The Prato Family
Dear Hospice of the East Bay,
It is with much gratitude that I write this note to your organization. My mother Beverly Howell passed April 25 of this year. Her time with hospice was only a week but it was in that period of time that I was given so much support and help from your staff—I absolutely know in my heart that my mother felt the same and we will be eternally grateful.
Lois Williams, one of your chaplains, spoke to my mother and I just days before she passed. I could tell that her words meant a great deal to my mother. Lois also came to my home to console me. She helped me prepare in every way for my mom’s service. I will never forget the loving, kind and healing spirit of this woman.
Dear Hospice Team,
My mom initially struggled with the idea of hospice until she finally made the decision to enlist Hospice East Bay to help her. Soon after, she realized it was a blessing and said she couldn’t imagine going through this part of her journey without the hospice team. I share her sentiments.
Your doctor and the night shift nurses all worked like a synergistic team that was completely dedicated to ensuring the utmost in comfort and dignity for Mom.
It was truly a blessing of an experience at that part of her journey. You are truly very special people individually and collectively. On behalf of my mom and her entire family, thank you for being “angels” that helped guide and comfort my mom and our family through a most difficult time.
Thank you. Can two short words mean as much as we want them to? I hope so. Though Bruns House cared for my father-in-law, Jim Heskes, for barely 24 hours it was a remarkable, moving and comforting experience for his two children (Joan and Scott) and myself. Together with his three grandchildren, we were all present when he died last Friday evening. Literally from the moment we came through the front door, there was a transformation in all of us—including Jim. We felt understood, comforted and taken care of. We went from fighting with the medical system to being a beneficiary of the kind of remarkable care the system should render at every stage of life.
Every person we came in contact with, from Darbi through each of the nurses and other caretakers, was compassionate, comforting, and caring. Each did a most remarkable job of not only providing medical care, but also guidance about the process of dying. The education and information offered to the family was of immense value. And the level of attentiveness to and respect for Jim by everyone at Bruns House was evident at every turn, and helped us all know that he was well taken care of whether or not we were there. It was a shining example of all that hospice care can and should be.
It is difficult to fully express our admiration for the work everyone at Bruns House does. It cannot be an easy task to deal on a daily basis with the many emotions accompanying people's deaths, and the impact of those passings on family and friends. Yet every person who helped us listened carefully, and responded with warmth and concern. There was never a sense that it was just a job, or that anyone was simply putting in their hours. We realized that each caregiver is there because he or she chooses to be a caregiver in that environment and because they have wonderful, unique and invaluable human relations skills as well as medical knowledge.
We have asked that our family and friends direct donations to Bruns House in Jim's memory, and we as a family will be making a donation as well. It is a small token of our appreciation for what all of you do, and the excellence with which you do it.
On behalf of the family, thank you. It's just two words, but we hope they mean a lot.
Pleasant Hill, CA - Earlier this year, we had the privilege to care for Senator Daniel E. Boatwright and his family during his last days. We received a special letter of gratitude from the Senator’s wife, Teresa Boatwright, addressed to one of our patient volunteers who specializes in massage.
Senator Boatwright dedicated his life to serving his country and community—in the military, as a deputy district attorney, as mayor of Concord, and finally as a member of the California State Senate. He served as a State Senator for sixteen years.
We are honored to memorialize Senator Daniel Boatwright by dedicating the Central County Tree of Lights to him. The ceremony will be held on Monday, December 3rd, at 5:30 pm in the John Muir Medical Center Parking Lot in Concord.