Published on February 2, 2023
For Ivie Burns, finding hospice care for his mother, Evelene, meant they got to be a family again before she passed. When Evelene was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ivie’s father, Robert, didn’t hesitate to dedicate his life to caring for her. After her health worsened, though, a fall made it impossible for her to remain at home. Ivie contacted Alive’s Murfreesboro office where his schoolmate Jennifer Levi, a lifelong hospice nurse, was running the residence.
“The healing begins for the person and family when hospice comes in. Having skilled professionals attending to mom’s every need was humbling. But they were so good at it, they allowed us to relax and just be a family again, which is what we needed most,” Ivie said. “The U.S. is one of the worst countries when it comes to dealing with death. We don’t realize every one of us will pass through that wall. Hospice takes down the veil of mystery and makes it OK to embrace it as a part of life. That’s the beautiful thing about it. The bottom line is they are here to care for the person and minister to the family.”
Evelene loved babies and children. She ran a nursery at her church and made sure her kids were popular in college by sending care packages with her signature yellow cake with chocolate frosting. She brought her baby doll to the residence, and one of the night nurses would dress it and set it up in various scenes in the room. To Ivie, this simple act of kindness showed how much attention his mom was getting.
“It was funny and sweet, and not just for my mom. It lightened things up for the whole family,” he said.