Lights... Camera... Action of Love
Carol Darley, In-Kind Donor
My Dad died of cancer at Hospice House.
The months leading up were an emotional journey I’m not sure that anyone is ever prepared. Somewhere along the way several nurses from Hospice and a very special chaplain stepped in. While we’ve all heard it said that “Death is a part of life,” I learned from these wonderful people that ...death is truly, naturally and perfectly a part of each of our lives. The Chaplaincy was there when I needed them.
Several months later, my dear uncle lay dying in Kadlec and I was asked in the middle of the night to give my consent to “pull the plug” and let him die. It was not a decision I was prepared to make. Finally, someone asked if I needed a chaplain. Within half an hour Chaplin Bill Lotz was at my side and we talked well into the early morning. He walked me through every thought and emotion I had. The Chaplaincy was once again there when I needed them.
I made a silent vow to give whatever gift I had to the Chaplaincy to thank them for the difference they made in my life. At that time, being a single mother, and owning my own business left little time for volunteering and very little extra money, so these were not options. For several years I carried around a thought of what I could do—it never left me. As God must have planned, I ran into an opportunity to let the Chaplaincy know that I was producing video’s and if The Chaplaincy ever needed a video... let me know. Within an hour my phone was ringing and I met The Chaplaincy’s Executive Director Dave Riddle ….and this is where the story really begins.
We met several times and soon I began to make sense of it all—how each program stands alone, yet is intertwined with the others. We wrote the script and my enthusiasm bubbled. I knew the best part was ahead—the actual filming of these extraordinary people at work!
My time filming the Chaplains was amazing. First with Tim Ledbetter at Kadlec, as he spoke to a patient about to undergo heart surgery; comforted a wife in the emergency room after hearing her husband had just died; and hugged a family who was on the verge of losing a loved one. Then came my 2am video of Chaplain Bill Lotz comforting families whose homes had been destroyed by a fire. It surprised me how important he was to the emergency personnel and how they relied on him to be there for them. Next, I was with Chaplin Cathy Rhoads as she interacted with those great senior citizens in the nursing homes. She was a joy to watch as her quiet, warm love and quick smile brought joy to the people who are sometimes overlooked.
Their warm, caring spirits, friendly smiles, heartfelt hugs and deep compassion brought me to tears on more than one occasion while filming.
The day we were to film at Hospice House, I again wondered if I would be able to set my memories aside and take on the task at hand. Within moments of setting up the camera I was flooded with the warmth, love and yes, dignity that is Hospice. I stood right outside of the room were my Dad had died, smiled and whispered, “This one’s dedicated to you.”