Hospice Hawaii helps families deal with dying loved ones

Pastor Rick Wilbur
Pastor Rick Wilbur
Dr. Sherri Tisza
Dr. Sherri Tisza

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

Paula was the love of Pastor Rick Wilbur's life. A doting mother and wife.

"Very caring kind of a person. She kind of spoiled me for 28 years," said Wilbur.

One minute they were laughing. The next?

"We found out she had cancer and she had two months to live.  The process of dying is awful and painful.  The hardest part was watching the kids say goodbye.  When you go through something like this, you don't want to be alone. You need help."

Hospice Hawaii offers physical and emotional support to families like the Wilbur's.  When a loved one is facing the end of their life, it isn't just the person who experiences it. It's their family, their caregivers.  Hospice was a rock for Rick, when he couldn't bare to watch Paula stop breathing anymore.

"They took me to the side and very sternly, very lovingly said you better not leave because in our experience, it could happen at any moment and you're going to want to be here. Trust us.  Within about 7 minutes she passed away."

Aloha Care medical director, doctor Sherri Tisza, leaned on hospice when she recently lost her mother to pancreatic cancer.

"As much as family wants to take care of their loved one, it becomes very very tiring and you have this person you can call 24-7. One of the most important things to do is have that conversation with loved ones with terminal illness in terms of what they want to happen at end of life.  Hospice can help families make the most of the precious time they do have left together.  We have art, massage therapists, pet therapy.  Whatever this family needs to do this successfully at home," said Tisza.

So that when the time comes, loved ones have the strength to let go.

"I put my hand on her chest and said Paula its okay to go. Things will be okay. I'll take care of the kids. Just go ahead relax, don't hang on anymore and within 30 seconds, she died peacefully in her sleep."

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