Home Education & Resources Stories of Hospice Care

Stories of Hospice Care

"Throughout her life, Mom loved music and CVH provided music therapy in her home. It helped all of us to relax for a few minutes."

Carol Brobst & Maxine Engelkes,

Daughters of Wilma Engelkes

"There was a representative(s) from Cedar Valley Hospice at the funeral home to offer sympathy and support. The Waverly office sent a card and followed up for one year with grief support with home visits and notes. That all meant so much. They were very supportive. That would be the best word to describe Cedar Valley Hospice, along with compassionate."

Dr. Dave & Barb Hennessey,

Parents of Katy Hennessey

"I learned I could get grief counseling at Cedar Valley Hospice although we never got to enter hospice. From my experience on a CISD team I knew I needed help. I walked into the office and was able to get one-on-one counseling. The counseling was extremely beneficial…"

Gary Stratton,

Husband of Maxine and former firefighter/EMT who often transported patients to the Hospice Home

"The Koala bear coming to the hospital meant so much to our grandchildren. I would recommend Hospice to anyone and always give memorials to their cause. A fabulous caring organization!"

Jeanie Balthazor,

Patient family member

"It was a very difficult time for both me and my two children (9 and 5). During this time and the time that followed I only remember being met with kindness and compassion by every member of the Cedar Valley Hospice team. While, we watched my husband die we were blessed with a visit from Katie Koala. The journals and time spent with my children helped them to understand what was happening better than anything else and made my job so much easier. I have never done anything more difficult than tell my children that their dad was dying and than 8 days later that he had died. I was faced with decisions for my husband at every turn and couldn’t face any more pressure or questions. The Eucalyptus Tree program was a savior for my children and me. They gave the kids a safe environment with knowledgeable people to have their questions answered and helped me to know what to tell the kids and understand how they would process their grief."

Tamera Bronemann,

Patient family member and volunteer

"I am presently a volunteer because my husband was given loving care by the wonderful staff at the Cedar Valley Hospice Home."

Gerry Lehne,

Patient family member and volunteer

"They deliver on every promise and their tact and consideration can’t be overstated."

Clare Staebell,

Wife of Paul Staebell

"They create a safe, non-judgmental environment that people living with HIV/AIDS don't always have."

Tami Haught,

CASS client and HIV Community Coalition group member

"Most people think of death and dying when they think of Hospice. I can tell you from experience that is clearly not the case at Cedar Valley Hospice. Cedar Valley Hospice is about life and time lived with compassion and love. The people of Cedar Valley Hospice truly live up to their motto of Making Each Moment Matter."

Wendy Halbach,

Daughter of Arnold Weltzin and member of Friends Advisory Committee

"It is not about dying – it is about living."

Nick Evens,

2008 President of the Board of Directors and father of Kaitlyn Evens

"I think one of the biggest blessings was that during that time, after needing to be his caregiver for three years, I was able, in his final days, to once again, be his wife. I was able to leave the care giving to them, and spend our last days, our last hours, simply loving him and talking to him and holding him. That meant more to me than anything else…. In the two and ½ years since Wayne’s death, I’ve found myself “gently prodding” others who are dealing with this devastating disease, to contact their local Hospice and look into what they have to offer… Hospice is there to allow the patient and his/her family to spend those final days (whether weeks, months, or even more) sharing as much quality time as they can."

Michele Aldrich,

Wife of Wayne

"I felt Cedar Valley Hospice care was like having dozens of arms around us, knowing we were never alone on this journey."

Evelyn Wohlwend,

Wife of Art Wohlwend

"The compassionate demeanor of each and every hospice employee I have met has touched me deeply….I want others to know all of my experiences have been positive. I want others to know the entire staff is a group of compassionate and caring people. I want others to know that during a most difficult time in life the Cedar Valley Hospice helps nurture a family in a way that cannot be obtained at any other type of facility."

Gary Stratton,

Husband of Maxine and former firefighter/EMT who often transported patients to the Hospice Home

"My husband became a patient of CVH in the summer of 2002. Two nurses were a part of our lives on a daily basis. They took turns arriving first thing in the morning to tend to my husband's needs. They became a part of our family, as far as we were concerned. Their concern and support given to us was beyond what I ever expected."

Sonja Wilhau,

Wife of John and volunteer

"The greatest part of being at CVH has been working with all the wonderful people, whose accomplishments help to make this organization what it is today."

Sue Seng,

Retired Cedar Valley Hospice employee

"As my husband, Carl, was dying, suffering from kidney cancer in 2002, Cedar Valley Hospice anticipated and filled every need with compassion and concern. What I remember and feel to this day are the hugs for my husband and my family. It helped to give us courage to walk this path in our lives.… I would encourage anyone at this stage in their life to enlist the help of Cedar Valley Hospice. They are experts in pain management, medicines, equipment, and especially emotional and spiritual support; along with the best hugs!!"

Gerry Lehne,

Wife of Carl

"The most excellent care possible."

Herb Freese,

Patient family member and volunteer

"I will never forget the day my mother died. Along with my family, there was one hospice member there who had been with us when my mom went to the hospital…above all, I remember her hugging my sister after my mother passed away. To me that is Cedar Valley Hospice - a warm hug in your coldest moment. Family traditions are different now with my mother gone…Out of that change has come a new family tradition for which I am very proud…In place of the gifts we make a donation to Cedar Valley Hospice each year. It is not a large donation, but is something Sue would do and what better way to honor her than to help others who are currently going through something we had to deal with. We can only hope others are helped by the Cedar Valley Hospice over its next 30 years the way we were during its first 30."

Jeff Budlong,

Son of Sue Budlong

"I had three close friends in hospice care over a two year period and I was very impressed with the care they received in their own homes as well as the Hospice Home. The ability to help the patient and the families through this time was an experience I will never forget."

JoAn Headington,

Former Cedar Valley Hospice Board Member

"My mother…was one of the first Hospice patients in 1981..….Hospice was there to support my father through this situation and to support my siblings and I and continued to be there following Mom’s funeral. Their support when we brought Mom home relieved us of some of the care responsibilities and they were there to answer our questions – major and minor as they might be."

Judy Blake,

Daughter of Elizabeth Ann (Lizann) Thiltgen and former Cedar Valley Hospice Board Member

"I receive more than I give."

Al Janssen,

Volunteer, former member of the Waverly Advisory Committee

"Never has there been a moment in time that I regretted being a Cedar Valley Hospice Volunteer. It was one of the best experiences of my life and the things I have learned have been useful throughout my life. I would encourage anyone trying to decide whether or not to volunteer, to do it… Many people asked how I could do such a thing, being with others as a loved one is dying? My reply was how I could not help people through one of the toughest times in their lives. I have met some wonderful people. And I am secure in the knowledge that I helped them."

Kay Pullin,

Former volunteer

"I was very skeptical about becoming a volunteer because I am a very emotional person. But this is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It is so rewarding to put a smile on someone’s face."

Dixie Billings,


"Cedar Valley Hospice today is a great organization in how it has expanded. They have different individuals for each patient and each one has a job to do. One day I see a registered nurse, next someone is helping to clean my house, next a social worker - they work as a team. Anytime they come to see a patient, when they open the door and come in you see a glimmer in their eye and love in their hearts. And who is it for? You. ...You feel great support and love from these individuals. You can call them 24-7...if you have a problem. What more could you ask for then to have [Cedar Valley] Hospice in your life? I can't stress the amount of joy and happiness I've received from Grundy Center Cedar Valley Hospice."

Ben Forker (1937-2007),

Cedar Valley Hospice patient