My passion for children’s hospice came into play in the late 90’s when Harmon was a spokesperson for adult hospice. Harmon and I both were champions of hospice due to his critical health needs in the early 90’s when at-home hospice was primarily for AIDS patience.
Children have always been the primary focus in our life as Harmon and I have 9 children and 21 grandchildren and 7 great grandbabies. One of our granddaughters has a life-limiting condition so we both saw the need for a child- specific facility. The thought of a child with a life-limiting illness without a child-specific facility for family and child respite and end of life care was emotionally inconceivable for the two of us as parents and grandparents.
When Harmon was released to hospice for his end-of-life home care, he wanted his fans and friends to know that he was at peace and very comforted with the knowledge that he could take advantage of the services offered. Hospice was a God-send for us. For five months as his condition escalated, the only thing he asked for was for me to “hold him.” As any end of life caretaker can attest, those final months are a blitz of appointments, IV’s, feeding tubes, etc. and that does not include the regular needs and responsibilities of housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, running a business and foundation, and public PR.
“Just hold me, Nita.” I’ll never forget those words. “Just hold me.” When hospice came into our home, I finally could just stop everything else and “just hold” him. I cannot fathom a child going through this and asking his parents to “just hold me mommy & daddy” and they don’t have the opportunity to do that. A child-specific hospice facility is so important to the comfort and care of these children. It’s critical for these families to have respite and support during these difficult months & years. Their hearts are already being sucked out of their chest with a straw and they are overwhelmed with not just this child, but all the other day to day responsibilities of life, including: working full time jobs to maintain health care, caring for other children in the home, and getting their child the physical therapy and health care they need. It’s overwhelming. We need Crescent Cove’s in every state, in every city, in every community. This is not a luxury facility. This is a basic necessity.
- Nita Killebrew