Triumph over tragedy

November 16, 2013

Dudley Wooten

Outdoors Columnist

We walked in the annual Hospice Walk recently and it was a very good thing. I was amazed at the turnout in several ways. First, the numbers were up; second, the teams were impressive; and third, the atmosphere was very thought provoking.

This day and event made you much more aware and reminded of your surroundings and your blessings. Yes, most of us there had lost family or friends to extended illness and become acquainted with Hospice along the way. This was the beauty of the day – triumph over tragedy.

Practically everyone there had recently lived through a bad experience with losing a family member, yet they turned out in mass numbers to send a positive message to Hospice, others, and themselves, that they had survived, and they appreciated the effort that Hospice had put into softening the blow.

As balloons were released, and all the colorful team shirts marched through the streets, the people along the parade route may have thought it was a celebration, and it was – a celebration of triumph over tragedy. The good news is that it was a gathering of a lot of good people, and the bad news is that it’s a shame that they all had to have personal family tragedy to bring them together for a day like this.

Before you experience Hospice, you can’t possibly appreciate them. As I looked around at the familiar faces, it brought back memories of mothers and fathers in our family, their final struggles, and Hospice. Hospice is not there to cure, but rather to comfort. To comfort both the patient and family is their goal, as well as to comfort both physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

No, you can’t appreciate Hospice until you experience them. I say “them” because Hospice is a group of very caring people, coming from diversified backgrounds with one goal in mind – comfort. They bring peace to the patient and peace to family. They bring nursing, counseling, clergy, and human resources to the table, and they share it with you.

Laura and I have had two moms and a dad that benefited from Hospice in recent years. Her dad was in their care just about a year ago. Several of our friends needed Hospice since then. Our team in the Hospice march included: Benji, Ashlee, and Ellee Wooten; Lisa Jo, Adam, Alex, Brandon, Nick, and Brady Hadsel; Laura, Belle, and myself.

You’ve heard me say this before, but I’ve never been more reminded of it than at the Hospice march. My grandpa said, “A man isn’t gone ‘til he’s forgotten.” This event spoke volumes about those gone but not forgotten. Thank you Hospice.

It is unusual for me to break tradition from work and get into celebration on a workday, but this day was special, because our loved ones and Hospice are special.

This day also takes me back to Little League. As an assistant coach, or a dad I would at times have to come up with the words that made sense of the way things were going, or maybe the fairness, injustices, or priorities in life. I would try to look them in the eye and say, “You know it’s nice to be important son, but it’s just as important to be nice.” As I walked Belle through the crowd there, guess what? There were some of those same Little League faces smiling back at me, and some even work for Hospice now. Could it possibly be that they were actually listening back in the dugout? Let’s all ponder that thought and when we hear the name “Hospice” think of words like, comfort, caring, love, family, appreciative and nice.

There’s a book entitled MEMORIES OF THE HEART by Joan Walsh Anglund. I will end this little thank you to Hospice with several messages from the book:

“Upon stone,

Is written fact.

Upon parchment,

Is written wisdom.

…Upon the human heart,

Is written love.”

“Though time forgets, still love remembers.”


Is at the beginning of all accomplishments.


Is the fear that we shall no longer be.


Is the knowledge that we do not die.”

“What shall we hold tomorrow, but the love we gave today?”

“The journey of love is long, and does not stop at death.”

“The memories of the heart are the warmest embers.”

Believe me when I say that the Hospice march is very thought provoking. When you see that many smiling faces that have had that much recent pain, you have to come away a better person. It has a way of rubbing off on you.

Dear Hospice – Thank you and keep on keepin’ on.

Dudley Wooten can be reached at 740-820-8210 or by visiting wootenslandscaping.com