After 55 years of marriage, five children and 13 grandchildren, Mary Lee Ackermann began to see her husband, Dick, declining. A retired nurse with more than 50 years of experience, she knew when her husband fell in their St. Matthews home that something was terribly wrong. After extended hospital stays and numerous doctors’ appointments, Dick was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. His physician gave him the option of aggressive treatment or in-home care with Hosparus.
“My husband chose Hosparus,” says Mary Lee, “He was interested in quality not quantity of life.”
She adds, “Our Hosparus team members were very patient and personally interested in us. I also appreciated the fact that I could talk ‘nurse to nurse’ with members of his team. Hosparus is a reliable source for care giving. They have a gentle way of helping in a non-judgmental way.”
In reflecting upon her husband’s final months, Mary Lee recalls what it was like for her to watch her five children care for their father. “It was almost overwhelming to me to see the respect and compassion they showed Dick. They worked together to help him in every way. It was their way to express the love they felt for him.”
After her husband’s death, Mary Lee turned to the Grief Counseling Center for help coping with the loss. She began by attending the Center’s Living Through Grief program and says that experience made her aware of realistic sorrow. It was when she participated in the Center’s art therapy program that she believes she truly began to see her loss from a different perspective.
“The art classes were fabulous. Sorrow manifests itself in so many ways. Through art, I could see my loss from different angles. It gave me a step forward and it impressed me how people were able to open up through art and photographs,” says Mary Lee.