September News & Events
Continuing Bonds
Elaine and Vic
Elaine and Vic

By Elaine Mansfield

The year following my husband Vic's death, his absence stunned me as I walked by his orderly shelves of philosophy books or smelled the acrid scent of drying firewood he had cut. I woke up and went to sleep thinking of him. He starred in my dreams. Even though my body ached with grief, I wanted to hold on to our strong connection. I was still married to Vic inwardly, still sorting through the last chapter of our relationship.

Two years after Vic's death, the weight of grief and loneliness continued, although with less anguish. I packed some of his books for the library book sale, put my books where his had been, and turned his office into my own. I travelled more and wrote about my experiences with Vic, but nothing felt as real or satisfying as the life I had lost. I was concerned about my ability to let go of the person I loved most and wondered why it took so long to accept my situation.

Read the whole story as a PDF.

If you are a woman who has lost a spouse or partner recently or a long time ago, come to a new peer support group called Continuing Bonds. We will meet at Hospicare on the first and third Tuesday of October and November from 5:30 until 7 pm (December meeting dates to be announced). We will focus on our losses and triumphs, the ways that we have moved on and the ways that we feel held back, and what helps us handle our challenges. Please contact Donna George or Elaine Mansfield if you are interested in taking part.


Fall Volunteer Training

Hospicare offers a variety of ways community members can volunteer their time and talents. Volunteers play a vital role in supporting patients, families, and staff.

Becoming a Hospicare volunteer includes completing a brief training program. The next training will be held over two weekends in September (17, 18, 24, 25). Please note that it is necessary to be present all four days to complete the mandatory 20-hour training. Registration is required.

To register for training, contact Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Yettru by e-mail at or by phone at 607.272.0212. For more information about volunteering at Hospicare, visit


Hospicare Receives York Children's Foundation Grant

On August 2, Hospicare gratefully received a $1,500 grant from the York Children's Foundation in support of our Good Grief Program for children, teens, and families.  We offer deepest thanks to the foundation, as well as to David Penepent of Herson's Funeral Home for sponsoring our application.


David Penepent presents check to Dale Johnson, Executive Director
David Penepent presents check to
Dale Johnson, Executive Director
Women Swimmin' 2011 a Success!
Women Swimmin' 2011 (photo by Samite Mulondo, Jon Reis Photography)
(photo by Samite Mulondo,
Jon Reis Photography)

The 8th annual Women Swimmin' for Hospicare took place on August 13th and was our most successful Women Swimmin' to date!

In total, the event brought in over $300,000. Thanks to corporate sponsors who underwrite event expenses, all the money raised will directly support patients and families throughout Tompkins County.

It is impossible to overstate the debt of gratitude owed to swimmers, boaters, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and supporters. On the Women Swimmin' web site, we have provided a list of some of the individuals and organizations who helped make this event such a success.

Of course, it's never too early to start thinking about next year. If you missed it this time around and would like to swim or get involved next year, be sure to bookmark and stay tuned for further word on the 9th annual Women Swimmin', to be held in August 2012.

Help from Hospicare
Q. I have been battling cancer for several years. My doctor recently suggested that I contact hospice, explaining that further treatments would be of no help. I am having a lot of trouble considering hospice, because I am not yet ready to give up. Does hospice require that I give up hope?

Many people resist seeking hospice services because they equate it to giving up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hospice doesn't require patients to give up meaningful care, but instead, to let go of treatment that may no longer be helping. Hospice is all about quality of life, for however long that may be. On that, we never give up.

While you may no longer be pursuing a cure or aggressive treatment for your disease, choosing hospice care may well open a whole new treasure chest of hope for you and your family. Using hospice services can help you find hope for new things like getting the care you deserve, feeling relief from pain, spending valuable time with family and friends, or moving towards a place of peace and acceptance.

You have been given a gift of time to share special moments and create new memories with those you love. Hospice can give you the hope that you will be able to enjoy this gift of time, free of the pain, symptoms, and fears that have been burdening you.

When facing a terminal illness, it's natural to dwell on the imminent loss of life rather than on making the most of the life remaining. Hospice helps us to remember that life is happening now. It bids us to live for this day -- this very moment -- as fully as possible.

Isn't that the most that any of us could hope for?

Help From Hospicare is an advice column written by members of the Hospicare team. Every month we will feature one question in the e-news, and archive the rest on our web site. If you have a question about hospice care, pain management, spiritual matters at the end of life, bereavement, or you're wondering what to say to a friend who just entered hospice care, you can email us  and we will answer it for you. All Q&A responses will be published anonymously, and anyone of any age is welcome to ask a question!


**Please note, if you need to speak to Hospicare staff or have a direct patient related question, please call 607-272-0212.

This month's question was answered by Edie Reagan, Hospicare's Spiritual Care Coordinator.


Read the archives online here.


Save the Dates!
September dates include:
  • Mindfulness Practice - Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Women Singin' - September 6; 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Evening Bereavement Support Group - September 7 and 21; 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Start of Four-Week Bereaved Parents Support Group - September 12; 5:30-7:00 PM (please register by September 9) 
  • Tuesday Lunch Group - September 13; 12:00 PM
  • Start of Four-Day Volunteer Training - September 17; 9:00 AM
  • Wednesday Breakfast Group - September 28; 8:30 AM

For more information on any of the above groups or events, please call 607-272-0212, or visit our web site to download a PDF of our current calendar.

Our mission is to bring medical expertise and compassionate, respectful care to people and their loved ones at any stage of a life-threatening illness, and to provide information and education about advanced illness, dying and bereavement to the entire community.
Also In This Issue
Continuing Bonds
Fall Volunteer Training
Hospicare Receives York Children's Foundation Grant
Women Swimmin' 2011 a Success!
Help from Hospicare
Save the Dates!
In the News
Websites of Interest
Support Our Mission

In the News

350 swimmin' women raise $300,000 for Hospicare
The Ithaca Journal's coverage of the 8th annual Women Swimmin', Hospicare's biggest fundraiser of the year -- and the most successful iteration of this event to date.

Cancer: Fighting Words
In this New York Times piece, Daniel Menaker considers our cultural inclination to cast people's experience with diseases like cancer in adversarial, combative terms.

Rules of Netiquette -- Should Deceased Be Added to the Facebook Relationship Status?
As Julie Spira discusses in this Huffington Post article, online social networking introduces new challenges about how to indicate and commemorate someone's passing. 
Websites of Interest

Women Swimmin'...Women Livin'
Laura Voorhees, a Women Swimmin' 2011 swimmer, tells of her inspiration to participate, and of the affirmation she found while swimming that day.

Caring Community: Wellness Through Life's End
An online resource for people considering, planning for or engaged in end-of-life issues

Engage with Grace
Through "The One Slide Project," this site provides a salient summary of important decisions and planning challenges for those facing life-threatening illness.
Reaching out
Help terminally ill people spend the end of their lives peacefully and without pain.

Our Wish List
 Items to make patients and their families more comfortable.
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