In good times, friends share laughter, create memories and plan for the future. They celebrate special occasions and inside jokes. In challenging times, they listen to each other’s heartache and provide stability and guidance. Cathy Paul and Carol Wood are such friends. Their lives are forever intertwined by the joys and challenges of life.
Cathy and Carol met through their church and quickly became friends. Their husbands also became friends and the couples began spending time together. Over the years, the group shared many happy moments and milestones.
In March 2017, Cathy’s husband died. During the last two weeks of his life, he received services from Homeland Hospice to help him manage his pain and remain at home. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.
The following March, Carol’s husband died. He also received hospice services from Homeland.
Cathy and Carol found themselves navigating a new reality, which had come far too early in life for these women. They have found comfort and strength in their friendship and support from Homeland Hospice.
“Cathy has taken me under her wing,” Carol says. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through the first year without her support.”
Both Cathy and Carol participated in Homeland’s six-week bereavement support group and attend the women’s luncheon series each month, which is led by Brian Medkeff-Rose, M.Div., M.A., Bereavement Counselor at Homeland Hospice.
Homeland Hospice provides bereavement support through phone calls, mailings, one-on-one consultations and support groups up to 13 months after the death of a loved one. Support groups offer self-awareness, healing, helping others, a sense of community and coping skills.
The monthly luncheons provide a safe space for women to share their grief and learn from the journey of others.
“It’s important to let others know what you are going through,” Cathy says. “I share my experiences so I can help other women in their time of grief.”
Last fall, Cathy and Carol set out on their first cruise together. They intended to visit Bermuda, but Hurricane Florence impacted their plans and they were redirected to the Bahamas.
“We set out on an adventure and got one,” Carol jokes. “Despite the weather, we had a great time and will try again to reach Bermuda this fall.”
Through each step, Cathy and Carol re-calibrate their expectations and plans to find happiness and purpose.
“Brian tells us not to think of the future as difficult, but different,” Cathy says. “I keep this in mind every day.”
The Women’s Soup and Salad Luncheons are held the third Friday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Isaac’s Grill at the West Shore Plaza.
Homeland Hospice’s bereavement support program is available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief.
To learn more, please contact Brian Medkeff-Rose or Noelle Valentine at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890