In life’s crossing points, it’s not always easy to know when it is time for hospice care. TRU Hospice supports individuals and families when one is nearing their final months, days, or moments, and no longer looking for a cure. We recently had the opportunity to support Mary Marcantonia and her mother, Rella Marcantonia, through the last steps and days of Rella’s life and her transition into the next. Like so many of the people we care for, Rella was a remarkable individual who left quite a legacy.
From Mary’s written obituary for her mother, Rella Mae Boon Marcantonio, 99 of Redvale, CO was born July 29, 1919, in a tent atop the Uncompahgre Plateau. Her family moved to Grand Junction, CO in 1922 to settle down into life in Western Colorado. She earned an Associate of Arts degree at Mesa State College, now known as Colorado Mesa University, in Grand Junction, CO and a degree from the University of Colorado School of Nursing in Denver, CO. She continued to nurse during WWII.
Rella had a passion for the arts and for education. A philosophy she lived by and promoted often was: “Get all the education you can get. It’s the only thing ‘nobody’ can ever take away from you.” Her teaching took many forms, ranging from a one-room schoolhouse to all areas of public education and even private lessons at her kitchen table. She never lost her desire to inspire and was always willing to help others acquire knowledge.
When the time came for Rella to enter TRU Hospice Care, her daughter, Mary, had been working with her mother for four months. In-home health care through Medicare had been maxed out, leaving Mary to take on full responsibility for Rella. Rella’s primary physician recommended TRU Community Care for her because of our great rapport and communication with families and physicians. Her physician also assured Mary that she would know when it was time for Rella to be admitted to hospice care. This time came when, one night, Rella began speaking to people that Mary could not see. Mary realized Rella was ready to transition to hospice care. She called TRU Community Care and a nurse arrived shortly after.
Mary’s and Rella’s experience with TRU Community Care is described by Mary with the word, “comfort”. She experienced special care that was attentive and more mindful of emotions than her experience at the hospital. Mary’s personal experience with the hospice services was so strong that all she could say was, “it was just different… it was the only reason I was able to survive during that time.”
A TRU CNA who works at the TRU Hospice Care Center, was profoundly impacted by Rella during her time with her. “This woman was born in a tent, is related to Grandma Moses, and was riding a Harley as recently as January at the age of 98! She was a teacher, a nurse, a painter, and a published poet. She lived an amazing life and I’m so glad I got to meet her.”
Rella’s memory is full of life, color, art, and poems for her family and community. Mary even painted her nails purple, just the way Rella would want them, the day she entered TRU Hospice Care. Rella’s memory lives on through her loved ones, and we are honored to have provided the necessary support and services for Mary’s family and so many others like them.
To learn more about TRU Hospice Services, please visit trucare.org/hospice.
To read previous TRU blog posts, please visit trucare.org/blog.