Published on September 17, 2017
Rick Scarola remembers his grandmother, Ethel Brosgarth, as the family matriarch.
She was 4-foot-10 inches tall, but larger than life. She drove until the age of 89. She was feisty, he recalled, something he always loved about her. In many ways, she was the rock of the family. When you were with her, he said, you were home.
She lived in Florida from 1951 to 2006. When her health declined, Rick thought it best for her to move to Tennessee. She agreed and, moving to Nashville, lived only five minutes from Rick and his wife, Lynn Scarola. As Rick recalled, she came to wish she had moved to Nashville sooner than she had.
“She was a wonderful lady,” Lynn Scarola said. They were delighted to have her so close and to see her so often, now that she was no longer hours away. “We loved it,” Lynn said.
Alive Hospice entered their lives about a year later. Mrs. Brosgarth was diagnosed with cancer, and when her physician deemed her prognosis to be terminal, she recommended that the family consider hospice care.
The Scarolas had some familiarity with hospice, but they had not had an experience with Alive Hospice. There are many hospice programs nationwide – but there is only one Alive Hospice, which was founded in Middle Tennessee and serves Middle Tennessee.
In many ways, she was the rock of the family. When you were with her, he said, you were home.
One of the things that makes Alive Hospice different: we have a 30-bed Residence in Nashville, the first of its kind in the State of Tennessee. It’s a home away from home for patients in need of a dedicated hospice facility. Rick and his family knew Mrs. Brosgarth needed a facility like that – but they wanted to make sure of one thing. It had to be not only what she needed, but what they wanted for her.
“We came here and visited before she came,” Rick Scarola said, and what he saw greatly exceeded what they imagined it might be. “It was just a much more pleasing environment than we expected.”
What they expected was “minimalist,” as Rick put it, but it was anything but that. It’s a place for families with spacious rooms (big enough for Rick and his sister to stay with their grandmother overnight), a dining room, a beautiful central courtyard for fresh air and tranquility, a library, a sanctuary and more.
Admittedly, Rick still wasn’t sure how his grandmother would feel about hospice care. But she was ready, Rick said, and walked in to Alive Hospice Residence Nashville on her on two feet.
Lynn and his sisters needed a bit of support, and that’s exactly what the team gave them. If you ask Rick, that was one of the best parts of their Alive Hospice experience.
“We felt like it was a positive thing. The people were very good,” Rick said. “Everything was well done. The nurses were positive. They would walk us through the process.”
It was what Mrs. Brosgarth needed, what they wanted for her, and what the family needed. The way it should be.
After she died, the Scarolas were so touched by what they experienced that they made a donation to Alive. Six years later, they were touched by this organization again when Rick’s father, Mr. Fred Scarola, received care from Alive.
“Giving is our opportunity to give back”
“You saved the family. Twice,” Lynn said.
Ten years after Mrs. Brosgarth’s death, they’re still giving so that other families can have what they received. Insurance covered Mrs. Brosgarth’s hospice care, but not everyone is so fortunate. They choose to give to Alive because they know their gifts support our mission-based services including charity hospice care, grief counseling for adults and children, and community education about the end of life.
“Giving is our opportunity to give back,” Rick said. “You don’t earn to create wealth for yourself. Your earning is to help others. That’s really the goal. We like to give back to things that are helpful and encouraging and enlightening for other people. That’s why we do it.”
When families request that memorial donations be made to Alive Hospice, they give. And with every gift they make, they’re helping someone they’ll probably never meet.
They give because they love. For that, Mrs. Brosgarth would be proud.