Passing Down Your Family Values

By Brian Croteau

When you are caring for a sick parent it seems like your time together is spent going from one doctor to another, tests, surgeries, hospital, home and then that cycle repeats, almost always too quickly. When my dad died three years ago at the Androscoggin Hospice House, I felt this heaviness lift from me. My dad was in the right place and I felt relieved to know that he was in good hands and his needs would be met. Having gone through the experience with my grandmother four years before, it helped prepare us. The care at the Hospice House is something you only have to experience once to know what it is like. It’s a safe place for both patients and families. The staff make you feel as if you are the only family there.

As a whole family we have been touched by hospice. My wife experienced the loss of her grandmother recently. We again felt the comfort and compassion of the Hospice House staff. As a nurse herself, she was thankful for sharing that time with her grandmother as a granddaughter, rather than a caregiver.

When I was a young kid, I remember, Karen Flynn, RN, Retired Director of Hospice and Palliative Care coming to my grandfather’s house. At that time, Karen was my grandfather’s hospice home nurse. After caring for him, she would play her guitar and would always leave him in a better place. My grandparents thought a lot of her and looked forward to her visits.

My dad talked about setting up a family trust that would protect his assets for future generations, as well as provide philanthropic support; I established the Ronald and Brian Croteau Trust after my dad died. My dad was a busy guy. He was in the car business and owned several rental properties. It was important for him to pass down his values and wishes to his children, and along the way say thank you for the kindness he received through special gifts to Androscoggin’s Hospice House.