Helen Haddich, Homeland Hospice Nurse, has a gift of expression. We are grateful to her for allowing us to share the following article from her blog “From Saving to Sending, Hospice Isn’t Just About Dying.” Prior to becoming a Hospice Nurse, Helen’s journey included ten years of being a Med Surg, ICU, and Perianesthesia Nurse.


Anyone who knows me, knows I am not so great at wrapping gifts. Don’t misunderstand me, I am a great gift giver. I take the time to think and plan each detail of the gift. The rush knowing how much the receiver will ultimately love the present makes the effort of wrapping so totally worth it.

It is Christmas Eve … the tree is dressed in its brightest … the presents are tucked neatly around. The glow of the lights is mesmerizing and has me lost in thought. Being a hospice nurse is full of experiences that sometimes take time to process. It is emotional blender of thoughts and feelings. But, one undeniable truth is that for all of its difficulties, it presents so many different gifts, each so valuable but, not one more so than the next.

Thank you for the gift of understanding – for teaching me to open the eyes of my heart and not make snap judgements.

Thank you for the gift of humility – for allowing me to see people, who are in the valleys of their lives and put aside their pride to ask for help.

Thank you for the gift of forgiveness – for showing me that regardless of whatever the rift, fight or misunderstanding, of you truly want to forgive, it can be done.

Thank you for the gift of hospitality- for allowing me to come into your home and even though you are dying, you ask me if I want something to drink or eat.

Thank you for the gift of love – for allowing me to witness as you watch your husband slip away while you, through tears, thank him for allowing you to love him.

Thank you for the gift of honesty – for opening my eyes to the true meaning of baring your soul – flaws and all.

Thank you for the gift of hope – for that little spark that still glows like embers with the secret wish that health may find its way back.

Thank you for the gift of appreciation – it goes without saying that I take so much less for granted. The fact that I can open my eyes in the morning is truly a gift.

Thank you for the gift of acceptance – we might be different shades, different backgrounds and have different beliefs, but, you accept me wholeheartedly in your homes

Finally, thank you for the gift of just simply allowing me to care for you. It is such a profound honor beyond words. Each patient finds a way into my heart, staking their own spot. Hospice has brought me so many gifts and experiences that no matter what I do, it will never even approach. The scales are horribly unbalanced in my favor.

The gifts of hospice don’t come wrapped in boxes and are often not even tangible. They can’t be purchased or ordered. The gifts of hospice are never ending and last a lifetime. They stay locked safely in my heart, never to be broken or taken. How can I ever express gratitude? The truth is I can’t, but, will spend forever trying.

Homeland Hospice serves 14 communities throughout Central Pennsylvania by providing end-of-life care either in a person’s home or wherever they reside, including nursing facilities. Homeland Hospice also provides bereavement support to families for a full 13 months following the death of their loved one. This service is available to anyone in the community who is experiencing grief.

To learn more, please contact Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.