Sheila Corbett was a volunteer during the early days of Hospice of Frederick
County when a very small
number of people made a big difference to the larger community. So, when
Corbett and her family sought out Hospice 30 years later when Sheila herself
needed end-of-life care, it was as if “life came full circle…
people like Sheila, in the early days, were truly the heart of the organization,”
Laurel Cucchi, Hospice executive director said. “In those days,
nothing got done if it wasn’t done by a volunteer.”
“I was so glad to be able to visit with Sheila and do a life review
with her, and to fill her in on how much Hospice had grown and changed
over the years,” Cucchi said. Corbett’s family was also touched
to hear about how instrumental their mother had been in the early years
of Hospice and was overwhelmed with gratitude when they realized how Hospice
was now giving back to her.
“At the Kline House, she had her privacy, which she treasured, caregivers
there when needed, pain medication available to her and she was not ‘burdening’
any of her children,” Corbett's daughter Lynne Waldron said,
of her mother. “She seemed to almost turn around while at the Hospice
House. I think it was because she was being cared for, her pain was under
control, and she didn’t have to worry herself about ‘what
will I do if…’ She laughed and smiled more and loved her
“At the Kline House, you’re not a nurse, you’re the daughter.
That is critical; it’s probably one of the most powerful things people experience at the Kline House,”
Corbett’s family, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
were able to visit as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted. One Sunday
in December, they even got to experience a final, traditional Sunday family
dinner together. “We used their beautiful kitchen for preparation
and then put Mom in a wheelchair and brought her to the lovely dining
room,” Waldron said.
“The staff was very accommodating and helpful, but also allowed us
to have our privacy. They always seemed to be there just when Mom needed
them for something. They were very responsive.” Corbett was able
to spend her last few weeks of life surrounded by caring individuals and
her family. This was an invaluable experience, according to her children.
“Mom had a quiet, beautiful death — if there is such a thing,”
Waldron said. “Mom did die from her lung disease, but she also died
the way she wanted.