My life with Jack Polich was full of travels throughout the world and lots of fun. We adventured to places like Iceland, South America, Thailand, Australia and more. We both loved the outdoors, and made the most of our lives.
We’d bike, ski, and kayak together. So often, we’d heard retired people say you should travel when you’re young, because when you’re older, you don’t know if you’ll be well enough. Luckily, we’d heeded their advice because little did we know our time together would be so short.
Jack and I had been together for about 17 years when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in October of 2007; we married the following month.
Even after his diagnosis, Jack continued to be very active. In fact, he logged 500 kilometers on his cross-country skis during his illness. I believe that it was because of his diligence about exercise, healthy eating and taking care of himself emotionally and spiritually, that he was able to elongate his life.
He had 13 really very good months before he died of the cancer.
Even though I somewhat anticipated Jack’s death, the loss was still great.
The emotions I was experiencing were very heavy and confusing. I had wonderful support from my pastor and dear friends, but I knew I needed some more professional guidance, so I contacted Jack’s doctor to request some help – he’d been so great, and I really trusted him. He referred me to Dr. Kate Hospice – we hadn’t had hospice prior to Jack’s death, but I was told they could provide grief support.
I was thrilled to have received a call within 24 hours, which I thought was very quick, from Connie DeBels, the bereavement coordinator for Dr. Kate Hospice. She explained that the doctor had personally talked with her about my situation, and that she would be able to meet with me and we could talk about my grieving.
At first I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be dealing directly with the doctor I’d come to know so well through Jack’s care, but I said, “What the heck, I’ll give it a try,” and besides, the counseling services were at no charge.
I was able to meet with Connie within a matter of days, and it was the start of my journey to healing.
I meet with her in person or by phone, and we have developed a great therapeutic relationship. Having Connie available to me is very beneficial. She is the best listener and has a gentle soul. She has helped me to know that I’m on the right track; she validated my personal feelings, the importance of my relationship with Jack, and my role as his wife. I know I am not alone.
I see my job as a recipient of bereavement counseling to encourage others to use this outreach so they can begin their healing journey in a healthy way like I’ve been able to. When I tell others who are suffering losses to contact hospice for support, they’re always surprised that Ministry provides this support to everyone at no charge, as part of their mission.
I know my husband Jack would feel a sense of comfort to know that I am well taken care of by the sincere people at Dr. Kate Hospice.