Comfort and Love: Tabitha Hospice With You

Tears are an inevitable part of any family’s hospice journey, but for Nancy and Larry Forsberg, they came with a surprisingly welcome set of emotions.

“There was sadness, of course, but mostly they were tears of comfort…tears of love,” said Nancy of her father’s death in 2003. “We knew where he was going. We knew why we were in hospice and that [Tabitha] would take care of us.”

Privileged to serve the Forsberg family for more than a decade, Tabitha Hospice played a key role during the end-of-life journey of both of Nancy’s parents, as well as of Larry’s mother, a onetime resident of Tabitha’s Maseman Unit. (Named for hospice pioneer Martha Maseman, the nursing wing that still bears her name was the forerunner to Tabitha’s Journey House, which today serves 12 residents and their families as Nebraska’s only free-standing skilled nursing, hospice-focused living community.)

Part of what made their experience so rewarding, the Forsbergs say, was Tabitha’s constant dedication to educating clients and family members about—and more importantly, living up to—the hospice philosophy of focusing not on death, but on life.

The Forsbergs’ Tabitha Hospice team—nurses, aides, a social worker, volunteers, and spiritual support staff, all overseen by Tabitha Hospice’s medical director—ensured that the family’s needs were met and their parents’ wishes fulfilled, resulting in final days that were rich with meaning and memories.

During her mother’s illness, a 12-year period in all, Nancy and her family discovered, in addition to Tabitha Hospice, the full breadth and benefit of Tabitha’s continuum of Elder Care. Soon, Nancy and Larry were helping to “pay it forward,” making the Tabitha experience possible for other families in need.

What began as an occasional helping hand ushering Elders to worship services in the Tabitha Chapel grew into a passionate commitment to volunteer, now more than a decade strong. Even before her mother’s passing in 2005, Nancy and Larry contributed as Tabitha as Meals on Wheels drivers, worship service musicians, life enrichment volunteers and more.

“God’s been so good to us,” Nancy said. “How could we not give back to Him? And honestly, the Elders at Tabitha bring so much joy to our lives, we’d miss them if we didn’t do what we’re doing.”

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