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Clarehouse Life Stories

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Sharing.
Peace.
Dignity.
Love.
Warmth.
Joy.

dignity-1

Sharing.

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou

We believe in sharing what we’ve learned. There is no fear in revealing our secrets to success; we do this freely, and with gratitude for those who have enabled our journey. We celebrate knowing that sharing our effective practices widens our impact and we join a global movement to improve end-of-life care.

Sharing

Every once in a while we know without a doubt that grace and providence has touched our lives and purposely placed us on a life-changing path. For our community, connecting with Clarehouse a year ago, marks that moment in time for us. As fledglings ready to take flight we have been lifted up and made stronger and wiser by all that Clarehouse continues to share. Their pioneering path in caring for dying people has shown what communities are creatively capable of building and sustaining when united and energized for a higher good.

Clarehouse has helped to set our direction, prepare us, and walk us through inevitable moments marked by doubt and uncertainty.

Their humble beginnings and expanded outreach stand as a testament to the importance of patience, perseverance, and the power of faith and prayer. There is a bit of Clarehouse living in every community blessed by their personal touch and generous spirit. Their story, their heartfelt work, and their willingness to connect us all to one another through a national network now opens doors and possibilities never before imagined.

Michelle Siewert
Friends For A York County Hospice Home
York, PA

Peace.

Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace in the midst of it. We know we cannot change the ravages of disease but we can offer safe haven. Dying individuals live out their minutes, hours and days at Clarehouse, with the peace of knowing their needs are understood and they are not alone.

Peace

When my mother came as a guest to Clarehouse in 2008, I experienced the grace of God flowing through this wonderful home and everyone associated with it.  Three shifts of knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate caregivers met her physical needs much better than I could have.  They assumed the caregiving that would have otherwise overloaded me and devoured the last precious days.  Instead, Clarehouse gave my Mom and me the great blessing of uninterrupted time to do what only we could do--share memories, express feelings, revisit a lifetime as mother and daughter, be at peace, and finally say goodbye.

The precious time Clarehouse gave us together impacted me so greatly that I remember it vividly 9 years later.  This strong positive memory exists in spite

of Clarehouse's location at that time-- it occupied one section of an older apartment complex that had been converted for use as a home for dying people.  It was less-than-perfect physically, but the attentive care and compassion shone through.

Thanks to the wonderful community of Tulsa, the current Clarehouse is beautiful, large, perfectly designed for its use, and incredibly homelike and restful.  Yet, the excellent care and compassion remain undiminished.  Clarehouse provides a haven for people to reach life’s end with dignity and for families to find peace in the midst of grief.

Jan Smith

Dignity.

It’s a simple act – washing a dear one’s face – yet it somehow restores a sense of dignity with calm presence, gentle touch, and recognition of the soul within. The need to be seen as a person is so basic as to be nearly forgotten in the chaotic maze of care in life-threatening situations. It won’t be forgotten here.

Dignity

“What would we do without Clarehouse?” was a question that we were blessed not to have to answer after the startling and devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer my husband received in July, 2016.

Prior to his release from the hospital following that shattering evaluation, his sister and I arranged to take him home in hospice care, as many families intend to do, but after almost two weeks of us attending to round-the-clock loving care at home, we realized that the challenges of providing him with the level of quality care he needed were quickly overwhelming us.

During my husband’s hospital stay, I had mentioned Clarehouse to his attending team of doctors, knowing full well of the outstanding reputation Clarehouse has earned in the Tulsa community, but also fully aware of the huge need and seemingly impossible waiting list for admission.  To my great surprise, a call came from the Clarehouse staff saying that a place for my husband was available for his admission in two days!  Knowing that this was indeed an answer to our prayers of how to provide my husband with the best

care possible, we still agonized over the decision to accept this amazing opening, but knew it was best for his sake.  The loving care, attention to his comfort and needs, the dedication of the Clarehouse staff and hospice personnel and the beauty and peace of the building and its surroundings were enormously comforting, and quickly became an unending blessing to us!  His time there was short (just under two weeks) but the dignity, support and understanding we all received during those last precious days were indeed the answer to our prayers.

The availability of this miraculous facility made it possible for my husband to die with dignity and for our family to know we had done the very best for him.  What a blessing to NOT have to search for an answer to “What would we do without Clarehouse?”  We are eternally grateful!

Christine Detrick
Wife of John Detrick, who died at Clarehouse, surrounded by love and caring on August 12, 2016

Love.

Extravagant love is our foundational value and motivates all we do. We are privileged to enter into people’s lives at a most personal and vulnerable time, and join a family’s walk on an unknown road. It’s our honor to become a part of your family.

LOVE

My great-grandmother was a guest at Clarehouse in 2007.  My daughter was 2 years old at the time and I remember thinking what a wonderful place to allow me and a toddler to stay overnight and be with our beloved "Gran K". The volunteers and staff were so kind and full of love and made us all feel at home.  It truly helped a difficult situation become more bearable. To be able to feel like we were at home with her and to know how well she was cared for before she left this Earth meant so much to our family. Years later, I felt called to serve others and it was the love received from those volunteers and staff at Clarehouse that lead me to become a volunteer myself. Whether it's talking with a guest or simply holding their hand, preparing a meal or giving a drink of

water, having a cup of coffee with a family member or lending a listening ear, greeting visitors at the front desk or giving a tour of the house; it all comes from a place of love and I feel honored to be a part of it. That 2-year-old is now a young lady and I am so grateful that she has chosen to see and feel for herself the love that Clarehouse embodies by choosing to volunteer alongside me.  The experiences of being a family member of a guest at Clarehouse and now volunteering here has been a blessing to me and my daughter Bella.

Autumn Kramer, Volunteer

Warmth.

Families tell us they feel the hug from the minute they walk in the front door. Our home is filled with joy and laughter alongside the grief and tears. The coziness of the surroundings complement the loving hearts and hands of our staff and volunteers. Together, they create a physical and emotional experience of warmth where a house becomes home and strangers become friends.

Warmth

My grandmother was a resident at Clarehouse with end stage lung cancer in July/August of 2014. My 89-year-old grandfather had found the facility knowing that he needed help and serenity during my grandmother’s difficult passing. He definitely found that at Clarehouse! The environment was peaceful and calm and it’s just what our family needed at the time. We were all able to visit and say our goodbyes. Fast forward to the end of 2015, my mother was suddenly diagnosed with a Glioblastoma. Many months went by and things were good until May of 2016. My mother was moved to Clarehouse mid-month. Having experienced Clarehouse and knowing the wonderful

impact the facility had on family and friends, although I knew the awful outcome for my mom, I was at peace knowing she was going to Clarehouse. She was there 4 days.

Knowing what I know now about Clarehouse, I know this must be the hardest work on earth but the most rewarding. You are doing a job for which there are no words. My family, as I know countless others, can’t put into words the things you do for families of the sick. Thank you for the bottom of my heart!

Sydney Walker

Joy.

When you are counting the days, you learn to treasure
the moments. Finding the joy in the details of life makes every moment more precious, more meaningful. One unexpected gift of Clarehouse is the opportunity to fully live each instance of joy and sorrow, the celebrations and the goodbyes, the laughter and the tears.

Joy

My siblings, Sharon and Bill, Jr. and I so very much appreciate what you did for our mom and for us during her stay. There was peace, comfort and sweet attention to her needs, and the facility was beautiful. I learned a great deal during those six days. She suffered physically for so long and emotionally even longer. Mom and I talked about her going to Clarehouse.

My dad died over 23 years ago; they were extremely loving and close to each other. Mom was so lonely without him. She never dated – said not one could be as good to her as daddy was to her. She was excited because we knew she had 30 days or less to live, and she would soon be with God and dad. Mom was a devoted Christian and loved the Lord and raised us in the church.

We were happy and relieved for mom when she died. For ourselves – we miss her very much. Mom was a great woman and a mom to be proud of. For years, she played the piano (by ear) at church and sang (most of the time with me harmonizing her). She also sang at weddings and funerals on request.

Everyone knew mom’s gift of singing. We’d gather around her antique upright piano after holiday dinners. She’d play and we all sang with her. It was wonderful. Her voice was strong and fabulous (I don’t say that just because she was my mom). I was always proud of her.

We had a wonderful love between us, and I moved in with her when her health started on a serious decline. I did everything I could but still feel like I lacked in areas. It was so foreign to me. She was always the one who knew what to do. We loved each other deeply. I will always love my mom.

Please accept my sincere gratitude, thankfulness and admiration for all of you at Clarehouse.

Sincerely,

Edie Bennett