|Posted by Joe B. Nester on June 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM|
On a cold and windy November evening in 2011 a hospice memorial service was held on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse. The service was the conclusion of a two day celebration designed to raise public awareness about hospice. Holli McGee Roberts stepped to the podium and in 48 short words defined perfectly what hospice had meant to her family.
"Agapé Hospice was there for us; they wrapped their arms around our family and helped us through the dark times. Like the umbrellas' here tonight, Agapé Hospice sheltered us from a storm. I will always remember their support, their loving care they gave to my Mother, Emma McGee"
Holli had lost her best friend when her Mom, Emma McGee died in August of 2010. Her Mom had been through what seemed like a lifetime of battling cancer. The first sign of trouble had come in the form of breast cancer when Holli was just eight years old. This was followed with a long period of remission until cancer resurfaced 18 years later in another form. At this point Holli was married and raising a young family.
For the next three and a half years Holli along with her family dug in for a battle. Holli became the primary caregiver along with her dad Carroll McGee and took daily care of her Mother while trying to raise her own young family. Holli started to show all of the classic signs of caregiver burnout during this time including the degradation of her own health.
Hospice was called in during the final stages of Emma's life which allowed Holli some precious time to just be present with her Mom. Emma was on hospice for just seven days before she passed peacefully into the next life.
Looking back on her experience, Holli wished she had been aware of hospice earlier in the struggle. Spending quality time with her Mom without constantly worrying about the actual care would have been the best gift Holli could have received.
Holli and Carroll are now Ambassadors for the new Lexington Agapé Hospice House & Suites that just opened in June of 2015. Carroll will be a part-time Chaplain for the facility and Holli will volunteer and continue her advocacy for hospice.