Holding Hands, from Hospice to Heaven
On October 6, 2019, Clint Baldwin held the hand of his beloved wife as she peacefully passed away. She was surrounded by her family during these precious moments.
For about five years before her death, Marilynn slowly developed dementia. The symptoms gradually began to touch different areas of her health, including her memory and ability to do daily activities. When the condition began to suddenly affect her ability to stand or walk in 2018, that’s when Baldwin and his grown children decided a long-term care facility was the best next step.
As the condition progressed, Baldwin and his family learned Marilynn might be better cared for and more comfortable through the consistency of hospice care provided by Avera@Home.
The thought of hospice initially alarmed Baldwin. “It scared me to death, as if we were admitting that it was the end.”
Hospice is considered when the individual’s prognosis indicates that there might be six or fewer months left to live. The point of hospice is to offer comfort to the patient, support to the family and facilitate important end-of-life decisions. Hospice can be suspended at any time to pursue treatment for the condition.
A few times a day, hospice caretakers would visit Marilynn and serve her appropriate needs at the time. For example, nurses checked over her body to ensure she wasn’t in any pain and hospice aides helped her eat at mealtimes.
Nurses would also take her for walks up and down the facility’s corridors.
That was something Baldwin could still do with his wife: the walks. “Marilynn loved her walks, and she would call out ‘hello’ to those she passed,” he said. “We held hands up and down those halls.”
Baldwin recommends hospice for other families considering end-of-life care. For him, personally, he felt calmer and less alone because he knew he was surrounded by a team of people who knew how to care for his loved one.
Clint and Marilynn were married for 64 years, and had two children, Val and Scott, and two grandchildren, Abryanna and Jayden. She worked as an insurance secretary, but after starting their family, she became a stay-at-home mother and kept an immaculate home for her loved ones. They enjoyed traveling and watching sports — whether on the television or the sports in which their children participated.
“She was a phenomenal cook and baker, two skills she taught herself in the kitchen,” said Baldwin. She shared her skills by baking for church events and working in the food industry after her children were grown.
“She possessed a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone just to help them out,” reminisced Baldwin. “She’s in heaven now holding the hands of her best girlfriend and Jesus.”