When the nurses from the St. Luke’s Hospice care team visited the Padua home, they comforted Dorothy, telling her that she would see and experience things that would remind her of her husband Nemesio after he passed away.
Those words proved to be true. Last summer, during an event honoring hospice patients who had passed away, something special happened.
“They had a butterfly release in a garden outside of the church after the service,” recalls Dorothy, a Bethlehem resident. “They opened up the box and these butterflies just fluttered around. It was beautiful and touching. All of a sudden, this one butterfly came and landed on my cheek and stayed there. He didn’t leave me. My daughter said to me, ‘Mom, that's Dad telling you that everything is okay.’ I believe that’s true.”
Dorothy and Nemesio – who went by the nickname “Pat” – had been married for 61 years and raised two daughters. He worked in the banking industry for 34 years.
“He was very practical,” Dorothy said of her husband. “That was the banker in him. He was always telling me to be prepared for the future.”
One thing they weren’t prepared for was Nemesio’s cancer diagnosis. What started out as prostate cancer spread to his liver.
“His wish was to pass away at home because he was most comfortable and relaxed there,” says Dorothy, herself a cancer survivor.
She admittedly didn’t know much about hospice. But she read about care options, and she and Pat agreed that St. Luke’s Hospice care was by far their best option.
“I believe using St. Luke’s Hospice was the best thing we ever did,” Dorothy says. “They took such great care of Pat. Most importantly, they became our family. Pat really loved them. He looked forward to them coming here.”
Today, Dorothy wears Pat’s ashes in a butterfly charm on a necklace. She feels he’s still with her and takes comfort in Pat’s message that butterfly delivered to her during the release ceremony: Everything, indeed, is okay.