Bereavement coordinator helps family through illness, death and beyond

Jennifer Doyle, bereavement coordinator in Metairie, recounts how Compassus helped a family through illness, death and beyond.

Carrie Brown’s son, Sidney, was frightened. His mother was dying of lung cancer and her physician had told him that all hospice does is, “send you home with medication and you die.” As his mother’s primary caregiver, he didn’t know what hospice was or what to expect.


Then he met with Compassus.


From the moment he met our team, including Ms. Carrie’s nurse, Lani Fonseca, Sidney was healed by how much love he received from everyone.


His mother had been sick for several years, and the time had finally come when he simply wanted to focus on comfort care, rather than repeatedly going back and forth to the hospital for treatment that was not working.


Sidney took a leave of absence from his job to take care of his mom; his mother was his everything. I started pre-bereavement with him and Ms. Carrie as soon as she came on hospice. I would visit often and we would talk about death and dying and just life in general, she would tell me all about her life and her children.


Like everyone else, Sidney and Ms. Carrie had good days and bad days. Sometimes she would tell me she was afraid to die; other times she worried about her sons’ grief and asked me to watch over Sidney.


Ms. Carrie was with us six months and was 60 when she passed away. To this day, I still call Sidney on his mother’s birthday and death anniversary. Through the hospice bereavement program, I sent him monthly Grief Mail, which he says helped him tremendously.


Families particularly appreciate when we mail them a card commemorating the one-year anniversary of their loved one’s death. They always call and say, “Wow, I can’t believe you still remember and thought of us after one year.”


Ms. Carrie is buried near my Paw Paw’s grave, so when Sidney makes his frequent visits to his mom, he will call me and say that he passed by my Paw Paw’s grave. I also visit his mother’s grave when I visit my Paw Paw’s grave.


He still always says he wouldn’t know what to do if his mother did not have hospice and all the care that they received. Sidney and numerous other families served by Compassus realize that hospice truly makes a difference in people’s lives.