Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Eddie Jane Pelkey
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Discovering life's many blessings

Escape with Eddie


During this joyous time of year, there are many blessings received into our lives. One of the most important blessings is the love of family — husbands, wives, children, grandchildren. It is these relationships that form the very essence of family life. These last few weeks have been bittersweet for me as I sit with my husband, Donald, as he transitions from this life, to the next. I have learned a great deal about courage and about acceptance.

Don is currently waiting to be discharged from Mercy Hospital. He was readmitted after four days at home due to congestive heart failure. His hip healed rapidly from his fall, but his physical constitution had been compromised.

I have been married to Don for 35-plus years. We have certainly faced many critical happenings in our time together. What I am learning now is our commitment to one another is the framework of our being able to journey through the process of dying. I have learned it is essential that families talk among themselves about final wishes — what interventions they want; what they don't want.

Don and I made our wills many years ago. They are pretty generic, however, they are also valid. We also made healthcare directives giving each other the ability to make decisions, if we are unable to do so on our own. These documents are very important. Talking to immediate family about one’s wishes is critical.

The Christmas season is one of the most difficult to navigate when losing a beloved spouse and father. This is a time of celebration and joy. Yet, during this entire time, I have met some of the finest medical personnel who have made my husband as comfortable and pain free as possible. Each of them have brought hope and joy into his hospital room.

Death and dying are subjects that most of us would rather not think about, especially during the holidays. Yet, I have realized the most precious gifts Don and I have received are the gifts of care and support from our family, friends and, most of all, Mercy Hospital staff. When nurses have delivered care to him, it is evident they do so with deep commitment to his needs. Each staff member has been kind and caring. I appreciate each and every one of them for the care they have given Don.

Christmas is a time of giving, not only of physical gifts, but it is also a time of caring. The staff of our hometown hospital have given Don and I something very special. Their smiles, their cheerful attitudes and their professionalism have helped me enormously during this time. They care about us. It is a wonderful discovery to realize we are being cared for by our neighbors. Perhaps not in the sense of living in the house next door, but in the sense of being members of the same community.

For a number of years I have appreciated having a hospital in Moose Lake. When the decision was made to not be part of the Essentia system, I was quite pleased. I think our community is blessed to have this medical community available to all of us who live in the area. The professional care delivered is excellent. As a retired RN, I know a great deal about hospital care, especially the big city kind. I can assure you, Mercy Hospital offers the same caliber of care and professionalism as any large medical system.

Finally, I wish each and every one of you a blessed holiday season. May you all prosper in the coming New Year.


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