Hospice Patient Gets Wish to Witness Daughter’s Wedding

Spencer and Joe Newton planned a June 2018 wedding at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI.  When Spencer’s mother, Margaret, became severely ill, the couple had to quickly readjust their plans so that she could be a part of their special day. Here’s how Care Dimensions’ hospice team helped make it all possible.

 

Newlyweds Spencer and Joe Newton pose with bride's mother a patient at Care Dimensions' Kaplan Family Hospice House

Newlyweds Spencer and Joe Newton sit with Spencer’s mother, Margaret, on their wedding day at Care Dimensions’ Kaplan Family Hospice House where Margaret was a patient. The couple held the ceremony at the hospice house when Margaret became seriously ill.

Spencer and her fiancé Joe had planned their wedding day for June 2nd and were pleased that all of their friends and family would be able to attend. But everything changed in early May when Spencer’s mom, Margaret, became severely ill and began receiving hospice services at home from Care Dimensions.

 

When Margaret’s symptoms and pain became too difficult to manage at home, she moved to Care Dimensions’ Kaplan Family Hospice House. Once Margaret’s pain and symptoms were under control, her team worked to keep her comfortable and help her savor time with her family.

 

On May 20th, the doctors at the Kaplan House sat down with Spencer and talked about her mother’s condition. They suggested that if Spencer and Joe wanted to have a wedding ceremony with Margaret involved, the best timing would be that very day. Spencer and Joe didn’t hesitate, saying “Yes, we want to do this.” The couple, along with the Care Dimensions staff, moved as quickly as possible to prepare for the wedding. The ceremony time was set, and Joe and Spencer arranged for their close friends and family to attend. The only thing left was to secure a chaplain to perform the wedding ceremony. With just a few hours’ notice, Joe’s sister, Mary Lee (who is Director of Continuity of Care and manages night and weekend operations for Care Dimensions), asked hospice chaplain Bob Hagopian to make a special trip to the Kaplan House to guide the family and officiate the ceremony. “Bob and the entire Kaplan House team were amazing,” said Mary. “Our family felt so honored and cared for.”

 

The staff prepared food and had everything ready for the wedding in three hours. “Getting the wedding together was the easiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Joe said. “Everyone there was beyond amazing given the circumstances,” he said. With the help of the Care Dimensions’ staff, Joe and Spencer were able to have a beautiful wedding ceremony, with Margaret present, just as they had planned. A few short days later, Margaret passed away at the Kaplan House. The whole family was extremely grateful that Margaret was able to participate in her daughter’s special day.

 

Spencer and Joe did have their Rhode Island wedding in June, and the officiant spoke about the Kaplan House ceremony and Margaret’s pleasure at being a part of the service. The couple also had pictures from the Kaplan House wedding displayed throughout the venue in Rhode Island.

 

Helping hospice patients and their families participate in special life events — whether they be birthdays, vacations, weddings or graduations — is something Care Dimensions’ staff strive to do. For Margaret and her family, that meant witnessing her daughter and now son-in-law’s marriage ceremony. “It’s something we’ll never forget,” said Joe.

 

Learn how Care Dimensions helps patients and families make the most of every day.

 

Rebecca Brackett of Gloucester, MA, worked as a marketing communications intern with Care Dimensions during the summer of 2018. She is a senior at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, and is doing a fall internship with Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City.

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"Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts."