A Feast to Remember
As Leona entered the Deep River Recreation Center, the mouthwatering smell of Christmas Eve dinner filled the air. It was as if a ray of sunshine was painted on her face as she saw four generations of her family all in the same room. Christmas Eve was a magical time for Leona and this year may have been the last year she would celebrate it. Leona is 82 years old and dying from Congestive Heart Failure. Her wish was to attend Christmas Eve dinner one last time.
As soon as the Seasons Connecticut team learned about her wish, they sprung to action. They needed to find a way to safely transport Leona and her wheelchair from the assisted living facility to the recreation center. Leona’s social worker, Lolita XX and Hospice Care Consultant Erika Higgins began researching ambulance companies that could provide a wheelchair lift and equipment for the short trip. Once they found a transportation company, they reached out to the Seasons Hospice Foundation to help grant Leona’s wish of seeing her entire family all together one final time. Leona wept with joy and disbelief when Volunteer Coordinator, Darlene Miakos delivered the good news.
On the night of Christmas Eve, a storm had made the sidewalks muddy and difficult for her wheelchair to get through. Without hesitation, her grandsons picked her up (wheelchair and all), and carried her into the recreation center. There was nothing that was going to stop Leona from seeing her family and eating her favorite food. When she entered the hall, she saw turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and stuffed breads filling the tables. For Leona’s family, their love of the traditional Thanksgiving meal flows all the way over onto Christmas Eve night. Their motto is that the food is so delicious that it should be served more than once a year! All of the tasty dishes are handmade by various family members and not one bite goes unfinished. Even though this may have been the last year Leona could spend Christmas Eve with her family, there was a lot to celebrate- engagements, babies, and another year being together with the whole family.
Leona got a chance to meet the newest members of her family!
Another special moment was when Leona congratulated her grandson and his fiancé on their engagement. She couldn’t stop admiring the beautiful ring!
After four hours, even though she didn’t want the party to end, Leona knew it was time for her to go. As she sat in her wheelchair, admiring her family, eating a large last serving of pie, and holding her grandson’s hand, she thought “This. This is what it’s all about- my family.”