Amy Komaromy Chalker, daughter of James E. and Marilyn Komaromy
As a resident of Montgomery County, I am so grateful for the work of Montgomery Hospice. For more than 30 years, they have been gentling the journey for thousands of men, women, and children in need of end-of-life care. They also provide critical support to families, such as mine, who walk along this journey with their loved ones.
A little over a year ago, I did not really know what Hospice was. I had a vague idea but no real knowledge. Both of my parents got sick, pretty much at once. As you can imagine, life became so hard. My mom was diagnosed with cancer—a very fast moving cancer. My daddy had been suffering from dementia, and when he lost my mom, his dementia progressed rapidly.
I found out what hospice care really is all about when I turned to Montgomery Hospice. Their number one goal was to alleviate my parent’s suffering as much as possible, but it did not stop there. The level of care they provided for the whole person—their physical and mental health, and spiritual well-being—was so professional and generous for both of my parents. Amazingly, it was extended to me too. They took care of me, and they still do.
My mom had refused hospice care for more than 40 days, and I had finally talked her into it. The hospice nurse who came to fill out the paper work to have her admitted was so kind—considerate of my mom's feelings, caring, listening to her concerns and fears—that my mom smiled through the process.
A few months later, the same kind lady introduced my father to hospice care. I don't think he understood much, but he stared at her in amazement and smiled when she called him by name, a very difficult last name to pronounce. It touched us both!
The nurses were also incredible—so caring and so loving. They had to struggle to manage my mom's pain and anxiety. Dr. Coleman, their medical director, came out to examine my mom to adjust her medications.
Daddy's chaplain was so helpful. She decided she was not really helping him because he would run away from her—she felt like a stalker. So she offered me help. We met at his assisted-care house and took him for a walk. We talked about lots of things, spiritual and otherwise, and we prayed. I think he understood a little of what we were talking about, and it made him so happy to go for a walk.
I cannot possibly say enough good things about the grief counselors! I get a phone call once a month that I really look forward to, and she offers me more help afterwards if I need it. I've been to a workshop that also helped a lot and am going to another one very soon. As I said, they are still taking care of me.