Before I met Stephanie Beyrer, I knew almost nothing about hospice care. About what it was. About what it does. About its meaning and value. But I do now. And let me just say that I am very thankful that I had her assigned as a nurse to me and my family.
I don’t know if what she did in the course of her duties was extraordinary. She was the first hospice nurse I had ever met. But it certainly felt extraordinary to me. During those eventful final 72 hours of my mother’s life, my family felt very well cared for by Stephanie. Her knowledge, her strength, her calmness – in a situation that felt to me like the end of the world – grounded me. It made the inevitable somehow more bearable. And the way she stayed with us, stayed in our house (she could have waited in her car), how she sat at the dining room table with us while we all were waiting for my mother to be taken away – it felt as though I was in the eye of a hurricane, peaceful and safe in the midst of chaos. I am very thankful to her for that.
I know that the time she spent assisting my family was relatively short. But if the value of a hospice nurse is at all measured by the quality of their compassion, the gift of their spirit, by a grace that steadies us through a process we must all endure, then I would certainly acknowledge her as extraordinary, and I respectfully submit this letter in the hope that her efforts on my family’s behalf can be recognized by her peers.