Love in the Time of Hospice

June 6, 2024, Hospice Patient Stories

Love in the Time of Hospice: The Kennedy’s 73-Year Journey Together

In the peaceful streets of Perry Hall, a beautiful love story is unfolding inside a cozy home. Victoria and Edward Kennedy, a deeply committed couple who have been married for 73 years, are a living example of enduring love, resilience, and the comfort of companionship in the final chapter of their lives. They have been able to experience all this thanks to the support of Gilchrist’s Home Care Hospice program.

Their Journey Together

Their love story began over 76 years ago on the familiar roads of 29th Street in Baltimore, where fate serendipitously brought them together. Edward, a young soldier fresh from his duties in India during World War II, returned to Fort Meade carrying the weight of his experiences. Meanwhile, Victoria, a vibrant USO performer known for her vaudeville-style dances, was finding her footing post-war alongside her friend Jane, who happened to be Edward’s sister. The sparks ignited, leading to a union that has withstood the test of time.

Born on June 23, 1928, Victoria’s life now includes a battle with Alzheimer’s, a journey she has been navigating under Gilchrist’s compassionate hospice care for the past three years. Edward, born on August 1, 1926, joined his lifelong companion in receiving Gilchrist’s care in December 2023, ensuring they could continue their journey together in the comfort of their home surrounded by memories of a life well-lived.

A Foundation of Love

Victoria and Edward have built a loving family with two children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Their commitment has touched the lives of each one of them deeply. The couple’s wish to stay together in their home was a significant factor in their decision to choose Gilchrist’s hospice care. This choice has enabled them to preserve their dignity and togetherness during their final, precious moments. The dedication of Gilchrist’s team has made their journey smoother, with particular recognition to social worker Erin O’Hara, who secured valuable VA hospice medical benefits for them, ensuring they receive the care and recognition they deserve.

During their hospice journey, one of the most emotional moments for the Kennedys was the Veteran Salute to Service tribute organized by Gilchrist for Edward. The ceremony, conducted by uniformed military veteran volunteers, was a heartfelt recognition of Edward’s service. It included a military salute, a veteran’s pin, and a patriotic quilt, all set to the stirring tunes of his branch’s service music provided by a Gilchrist Music Therapist. Music therapy, another part of Gilchrist’s comprehensive care, has also been significant for the Kennedys.

Despite life’s challenges, the Kennedys’ love remains as vibrant as ever. Edward’s adoring gaze towards his wife and the simple yet profound declaration, “Isn’t she beautiful,” speaks volumes of a love that has stood the test of time.

Gilchrist’s support for the Kennedys is a powerful reminder of the profound impact of love, the importance of providing dignified care, and the honor owed to our veterans. The Kennedys’ story highlights enduring love and the importance of hospice care in honoring life’s journey together until the end.

*Note: Edward Kennedy passed away on April 14, 2024, following the writing of this blog.

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