Family First, Family Always

Trying to plan family gatherings can feel impossible. Everyone is going a million miles a minute, with schedules that are constantly filled and changing. Then once you finally find a day to get everyone together there seems to always be one relative that has something last minute come up, sometimes making the process begin again. While families have the ability to make our heads spin they always show up in a time of need, no matter how packed their schedule is. For LaVerne Andreolli that time was during her mother’s stay in hospice.

Alice Grodus with her daughter LaVerne Andreolli
LaVerne’s mother, Alice, had spent a year going in and out of the hospital before being diagnosed with T-cell carcinoma lymphoma of the skin. LaVerne said Alice did treatment because “it was supposed to be treatable and not progress into anything else.” In December 2013 though, Alice was taken to the University of Michigan hospital because “something just wasn’t right,” LaVerne said. Three weeks and many tests later Alice was diagnosed with leukemia lymphoma. She received her final diagnosis on January 8, 2014. The next day she entered the Angela Hospice Care Center.

“She was progressing so quickly there was no treatment to put her through. I said, ‘I think she’s been through enough,’ and my mom agreed,” LaVerne said.

When it came to deciding whether to select home care or the Care Center LaVerne said that the Care Center made the most sense for them. LaVerne, who is an occupational therapist, said there were certain things she just wouldn’t have been able to do as her mother progressed.

“It was the best thing we could do because it gave me time to be her daughter, not a caregiver,” she said.

It also helped that family lives nearby, including Alice’s sister, Sister Agnestine Rosinski, who is a Felician and lives right by Angela Hospice.

“In her death it brought a lot of people back together,” LaVerne said. “And we still are."

Everyone from extended cousins to Alice’s siblings gathered daily during her nearly month long stay in the Care Center. LaVerne said Alice’s room was constantly filled with visitors.

But in the end, Alice passed away with only LaVerne and LaVerne’s husband, Dave, in the room with her on January 25, at 9 a.m. Alice was 87.

“It was very peaceful,” LaVerne said. “She obviously just wanted him and I there.”

LaVerne said she learned a lot during her experience with hospice.

“It makes it easier,” LaVerne said. “You have people that really care and are supportive. Any questions you have, they are right there to answer or give you some options that you may not have thought of yourself.

“It’s helpful for family members to have the support from hospice, for how to deal with the upcoming loss,” she continued.

LaVerne continues to be involved with Angela Hospice. Last year, she attended Laughter Lifts You Up, and invited the women who had been most supportive to her during her mother’s death to come with her.

“It was an enjoyable event for us women to be together in a different situation,” she said. “And also to be able to show my gratitude for what they were able to do for me.”

LaVerne has plans to attend the annual women’s event again this year and many more years to come.

“We know a lot of people whose lives have been touched by this hospice,” she said.

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