A sense of purpose can sustain us through even the darkest hours. Noted psychiatrist Viktor Frankl spent many years in Nazi concentration camps. He observed that a sense of meaning and a goal for the future were crucial to resilience. Those who identified a purpose for their life survived with grace and dignity. Those who didn’t succumbed to bitterness and despair.
Finding purpose in serious illness These lessons apply to a serious illness. While we cannot control the disease, we do have some control over our responses. The way we approach the illness can have a profound effect on the quality of our life. The experience of our days. This is true for the person you care for. It is also true for you as a family caregiver. Finding purpose can add great meaning and depth to a difficult situation. Indeed, many people diagnosed with terminal conditions have remarked that the illness also brought them gifts. Families often express a similar reaction.
A life review Reflecting on one’s life can be a good place to start a search for meaning. Many people focus on their achievements. They tend to recount their material or social accomplishments.
The legacy of the soul Few of us can be a great statesman or a brilliant artist. All of us, however, have created a very meaningful legacy for our friends and families. The way we have lived our lives has allowed us to touch the hearts and souls of others. The memories shared, the lessons and values we have passed on are true treasures.
An ethical will Rather than write a memoir, some people choose to create an ethical will. They tell stories about their life from the point of view of the lessons learned. The milestones are less about achievement and more about wisdom gained. They pick no more than 10 concepts they would like to “bequest.” Then they tell the tale of how they came to this understanding of the world. An ethical will can be dictated into a recording device and transcribed later. Or, your loved one can be videoed while sharing their ethical will in conversation.
Religious interpretations The world’s religions recognize this need for life review. The Christian faith describes St. Peter reviewing the life of the recently deceased at the gates of heaven. In ancient Egypt, the god Osiris was said to weigh a dying person’s heart against the Feather of Truth.
What to do in the time that remains? The process of reflection can also help your loved one prioritize his or her thoughts about what to do next. It may become clear, for instance, that it’s time to resolve an old conflict. Perhaps with a friend or an estranged relative. Many people discover that they want to write letters or make phone calls to reconcile family relationships.
The role of hope Hope and a goal for the future are the building blocks to finding meaning or purpose. Even with a terminal diagnosis, people need to feel hope. They need to have things to look forward to. A serious illness presents many opportunities for inner growth and change, even if one is bedridden. To learn more about finding daily meaning and future purpose, please see our article about hope. You might also be interested in our article about quality of life.
What might you do to help your loved one conduct a life review? Create an ethical will?
Whether death is in fact weeks or decades away, we inevitably come up with questions about life’s mysteries.
Is there meaning to life?
What is the point if we are ultimately going to die?
Do we simply vanish when we die, or is there an afterlife?
Is there a Being, Existence, or Force that is larger than ourselves?
Why have we been given the conditions we’ve been given? Why are we suffering?
Where does the human meet the divine?
Most of us do not wake up each morning pondering such deep philosophical issues! But when we are faced with a serious illness, these concerns become very important. The prospect of death causes us to look at where the human meets the divine. We question our understanding of the spiritual side of life.
Life is short!
Many people—the seriously ill as well as family members—use this opportunity to reexamine their priorities. The saying, “life is short” takes on new urgency. Exposure to a serious illness can spark changes. It may be time to realign one’s life to fit with one’s deepest priorities. This way, the time that remains is meaningful, whether it is years, weeks, or days.
Living your priorities
For some people, this realignment means resolving relationships. It could involve forgiveness. It could result in a shift to concentrate on love or on gratitude. For others, it means adopting a spiritual practice. They find ways to focus on the sacred, even in the midst of chaos.
A life-threatening condition is disruptive. This is true for the person who is sick. Also for the family. It challenges everyone physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our self-image is called into question. We are forced to reexamine our sense of order in the world.
Want to talk?If you would like to talk with someone about your spiritual concerns, feel free to call us at 602-888-7037. There is no charge. We have chaplains who deal with these issues every day. They do not try to convert you to their faith. They simply ask questions and help you find your own answers.
All the major religions address the issue of suffering. It is common for people with serious illness to get mad about the situation and ask, “Why me?” Expressing that anger can be very healing. It can open the heart to deeper realizations.
Odd as it may sound, most people eventually come to understand that bad things happen, even to good people. It’s not a punishment. It’s just the way of things. Part of our journey. They learn to give up needing to control their life. The outcome becomes less important than the dignity and grace they use to handle each day. They find spiritual solace by looking for the gifts in their condition.
Some people recognize their illness as an opportunity to reflect on their life. They make amends while they are still able. Some determine that their disease is God’s will. They use the opportunity to surrender to a Higher Power. Others embrace a transcendent view. They find themselves opening to a spacious understanding of their soul’s deathless nature.
What is your sense of your loved one’s approach to this topic?
Whatever your spiritual path, ritual may help you come to terms with these difficult circumstances. Ritual helps us mark events or realizations in our lives. It lifts us above the humdrum of daily existence. It brings out the sacred within us. With their familiar patterns, spiritual observations and ceremonies can offer comfort and ease our distress. They can be a source of inner strength.
Prayer, meditation, lighting candles, holding hands before a meal. Daily rituals raise us quickly to an understanding of our spiritual nature. They remind us that we are more than what we appear to be.
Rituals of passage
Rituals that mark specific life passages help us remember that many have gone through this journey before. Others will do so after us. Ritual can provide a thread of continuity. It ties us to the past and future. It can also help connect us with our community.
If your spiritual practice offers rituals, you might wish to bring them more to the fore in your life. The roles and activities prescribed by tradition can offer a safe place to express feelings. They provide a vessel to explore the meaning of what is happening to you and those you love.
What about your loved one? Is there a faith tradition from his or her youth? Perhaps there is a ritual of passage that would ease this journey. Would it be helpful to talk to a member of the clergy?
Creating your own ritual
If you or your family do not have specific practices, you can create them. Rituals tend to include one or more of the following elements:
an opening and a closing. These mark a line between “ritual time” and the routines of daily life
repetition of special words or songs
special garments, hats, or ornaments
objects set aside for ritual purpose only
a location that has particular meaning or symbolism
the gathering of others to offer support
Rituals can be private, as in the practice of reading a poem before bed. They can be done in small groups and have meaning only to those involved.
For instance, one young family with a dying father made a candelabra together out of clay. Each person fashioned a small sculpture to put on the piece. Now, with the father having passed away, they have the memory of making the candelabra together. They also use it during holidays and other occasions when they wish to include him in their activities.
Planning rituals is healing
Many people find it comforting to plan social rituals together. Your family may find peace and closure by planning the memorial with your loved one. Other families decide to have a celebration of life while the person who is ill is still alive. This brings the added joy of hearing the love and appreciation of those whose lives they have touched.
Whatever your beliefs, a serious illness will call upon you to ask deep questions. It is an opportunity to clarify your values. It lets you bring to light who you are. And for the dying, it highlights the qualities that transcend physical form.
What ritual would be healing or helpful for you? Your loved one?
As an Aging Specialist, a Senior Resource Center and over 20 years experience with Seniors “Solace Hospice” has excelled in comfort care and palliative care! They have been one of our preferred providers for years in Arizona. Their involvement in the Industry, their caring staff and their professional approach is appropriate when families need them most. Costel Roman the Director of Business Relations is the biggest advocate I have met in his Industry. Solace Hospice you are appreciated by thousands of families and Senior Living Communities in Arizona.
We could not be more grateful to Solace Hospice and their staff for taking care of our loved one, even though he was on service a short time. Everyone was so sweet to us and him and were very responsive to our needs and requests. The staff was skilled, informative, and available at any time of the day or night. Most importantly, they care about us. They spend time with us. We laugh together and cry together. We always looked forward to visits. Thank y'all for everything.
I have written only a handful of reviews in my lifetime. I felt this one necessary. I have worked as an employee for Solace Hospice in Phoenix for over a year and a half. The genuine care, respect and compassion for our patients and families is outstanding. Today, our team received a generous gift card from the owner, Thomas, for Thanksgiving. Even more impressive….He and his family stayed up until 3 am cooking a homemade Thanksgiving feast for us. He walked in wearing a suit jacket, sat down and enjoyed the meal along side of us like family with little rest. This is not the first time our owner and management team have gone above and beyond to make us feel appreciated or to help out in difficult times. Thank you! Our office staff does an amazing job of multitasking behind the scenes and I truly wonder how they get it all done. Our Executive Director, Maggie, (whom I’ve nicknamed work horse) is an exceptionally hard worker whom won’t ask for a thing she wouldn’t do herself and more often does so without asking at all. She is intelligent, kind, fair and very supportive. She wears many hats well and makes it look easy. Our nursing staff is incredibly competent, compassionate and juggle the day to day challenges well. Our CNA’s are some of the hardest workers I have ever had the pleasure of working with and no matter how busy things get, they always manage to get everything done. Our Social worker, Shanna, is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to help out. Our Chaplains are kind, down to earth, compassionate and funny. Our volunteer coordinator, Barbara, is always smiling, knowledgeable and fun. Our marketer, Costel, bends over backwards to meet the needs of patients and families. I am proud and honored to be a part of such an incredible team and have never enjoyed a job more. Thank you to all of the Solace Hospice Team!
I had a great working experience with Solace Hospice and all of the staff I have encountered, open communication and great quality in their service. The people we worked with so far starting with Costel Roman, the RNs Gina and Heidi and amazing social worker Shana enabled us to continue to work with them and refer Solace Hospice.
Been working with Solace Hospice for over a year and never cease to amaze me! They cater to each individuals needs and go beyond the scope of service. Stephanie, Sammy, Diane and Costel are doing a fantastic job, giving 110% of love and hard work and making sure everything that it’s needed arrives within 24 hours. If you’re looking for a great Hospice give them a chance, they will never disappoint.
I was reaching out to try and get some help with my mother. I called this company and was not aware they did not cover all of Arizona. I spoke to a wonderful lady who I think was Bev. She assisted me in finding a hospice for my mom. She had knowledge of hospices in the Prescott area. If I ever move to Phoenix I will be stopping by their offices to say thank you. She held my hand and called me back the next day to make sure that we were getting care for mom. They went above and beyond.
I can’t say enough about Solace Hospice. The level of care and attention to personal detail is so much higher than the other hospice company I dealt with. My family recently experienced the loss of our mother followed by our father in fairly close succession. All I can say is thank you Solace and I wish I had discovered you sooner. My mom’s passing was handled by another company. I can tell you they are not the same. Solace operates with a premium degree of care and compassion during such a difficult time
I cannot thank Solace Hospice enough for the amount of love and support they have provided my family with during this hard time. They were attentive, caring, informative and overall extremely experienced in this field.A special thanks to Maggie, Bevery, Katie, Janet, Diana, (just a few of the many) for the help you provided.Thank you all so much!!!Enea
I work with Solace Hospice and they are fantastic. Costel Roman from Solace Hospice is very professional, high ethics and integrity, and also he is respected and well known by the health community in Arizona. Simply put, it's a pleasure to work with Costel - I strongly recommend him!
I would like to express my gratitude to Costel Roman - Director of Business Relation at Solace Hospice, Thomas Fedzin - Owner of Solace Hospice during a difficult time in my life. There is never an easy moment to loose a loved one. Costel Roman and Solace Hospice have helped my mother to go to Heaven and be with the angels peacefully. God bless all of you for being by my side!!!
I work in the senior care industry and have been referring patients to Solace Hospice for a long time now. They are compassionate and always quick to help anyone with their needs. I want to personally thank Costel Roman & Beverly Kosierowsky for their hard work in caring for their patients and the community. I appreciate you all!
Solace Hospic is Definitely #1 Hospic in Arizona a team that’s Compassionate towards the needs of not only patients but owners and also caregivers. Costel Roman is so Professional and always gets the job done . Ask him what he can’t do he will tell you what he can do to make the experience working with solace comfortable as possible. Solace will always be my go to Hospic.
I've worked with multiple staff members at Solace Hospice and each and everyone is so incredible passionate about caring for the community. As a wife of a Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility, I hear often about how important great care -- Solace provides great care!
I absolutely LOVE working with Costel and and Beverly!! Costel (AKA Roman) has excellent communication and I value his team immensely! I highly recommend this team if you are looking for a hospice company with great communication skills, friendly faces, and caring hearts!
As a nurse and the owner of several assisted livings, I have had many encounters with different hospices.Solace Hospice has been amazing and has gone above and beyond for my patients and their families! Always helpful, always receptive to the patients needs and always there when needed.Thank you Solace for the outstanding care and dedication your company and your staff provides.
We are so glad and relieved to have met Costel Roman of Solace Hospice.When he came to our assisted living homes and introduced himself he sat with us and explained Solace Hospice’s vision and approach to compassionate high quality care.We were very pleased to hear that residents and families needs are above all else.These past months we worked along side them with a few of our families in our homes .We cannot praise Costel and all of Solace’s staff Enough on the quality of care,professionalism demonstrated and the compassion showed by all of Solace’s staff to the families and our team.We will only recommend a company to our families if we know and experienced first hand that they are among the best in their profession.Congratulations to Solace for putting together an outstanding team. You guys definitely exceeded 5 stars! Luis Pescador.
We were recently reintroduced to Solace Hospice by Costel Roman and Jesse Watson, two of their community liasons, and in the process were impressed with their client-focused service. The biggest selling point for us as a group home is that they were not going to be a hospice that simply stopped fighting for a client and allowed them to die. Many of our residents and their families initially are fearful of the word “hospice” and typically think it means a death sentence. Many of them are not ready to give up the good fight and Solace has been a partner with our home to ensure the resident, their family, and our group homes are all respected and active partners in the continued care and needs of the resident. Everyone from their intake staff, RNs, and CNAs was compassionate, caring, and dutiful in their tasks. Special mention goes to the Nurse assigned to our home, Sabrina. She helped us guide the resident and their family through the difficult process of passing away, and her knowledge and compassion for my resident and her family will never be forgotten. Owning three different group home locations has given me plenty of experience and exposure to many different Hospice companies, but without a doubt, Solace Hospice is one of the best. I can not recommend them enough, whether you be a group home, a family member of a loved one, or someone looking to work at a hospice company. Thank you Costel, your team provided me much peace of mind. I look forward to continue to working with your team.
I cannot begin to describe the gratitude and appreciation my family feels about the experience we had with Solace Hospice. I didn’t know quite what to expect at the time when my father was on your service. My father had such great care! My concerns were quickly relieved. Thank you for the kindness and compassion you have given to us and for the genuine concern for my father and for our family. We sincerely appreciate your tireless effort to care for all your patients and their loved ones, and your eagerness to assist at every turn.
I own 5 assisted living group homes around the Phoenix area. I am always relieved when my residents and their families choose Solace Hospice to help their loved one. I can always rely on Thomas and his staff to take care of my residents. They interact incredibly well with my caregivers and offer assistance 24/7. And they back it up. There have been numerous times when we needed some help from Solace in the middle of the night. Someone from Solace would come out to the home without hesitation and take care of everything. Thank you Thomas for running such a wonderful company!
Great professional help during a hard time. Thank you for making things easier to manage during our time of need. They gave our loved one lots of comfort any time he needed it. Which added relief to me as I knew he was in good hands. Thank you so much Thomas and staff!
As a care coordinator for multiple assisted living homes, I am grateful for the opportunity to have Solace Hospice care for our residents. Working closely with Thomas and his staff Is always a pleasure. All around, a great experience.
Thomas and staff were always friendly and available to help us. We learned so much about our Client’s situations. They are definitely very knowledgeable and confident of what they do to help our clients in our group home meet their needs.