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Gone Fishin’

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Gone Fishin’

Submitted by: Stephanie Kostizen, LMSW, ACHP-SW
Hospice at Home

George was born to parents who were share croppers and he spent his childhood picking cotton and other crops. It wasn’t an easy way to grow up, but through the necessity of feeding their family as inexpensively as possible, George and his father went fishing, and George’s life-long love of the sport was born.

After serving in the Army during World War II, George and his wife settled in Southwest Michigan to raise their family. George passed on his love of hunting and fishing to his children and grandchildren. One of his most prized possessions is a framed photograph of his grandson proudly displaying a wild turkey from one of the hunting trips they took together.

George’s love of family and his abiding faith in God were woven throughout the memories of a life well lived. When his wife became ill, George was there as her loving caregiver. George himself was struck down by an aneurism that left him with memory loss and other disabilities. He was so beloved in his church that when he became unable to navigate getting from the car into church, the congregation gladly and lovingly transported him from the car into the church and into a lift chair in the front pew.

George lived with his daughter.  She engaged the services of Hospice at Home to help ensure that he had the very best quality of life that he could at the end of his life, regardless of his limitations.

George had become unable to do many of his former activities including fishing – something that he truly enjoyed. It had become nearly impossible for him to hold his fishing pole due to severe arthritis.

Enter Ray Flynn – George’s massage therapist at Hospice at Home. “George had shared his love of fishing with us,” said Nancy Thompson, social worker. “We talked about the idea of taking George fishing with his daughter. She had misgivings at first due to her concern about the difficulties of getting George somewhere he could fish, and his inability to hold the pole. Ray did extensive research and discovered an apparatus that would attach to the pole and George’s arm and wrist so that he could fish. George was ready to go!”

With the assistance of Pride Wheelchair, George, Ray and Nancy took off on an adventure, accompanied by Laurie Timmer, George’s Spiritual Care Coordinator.

After casting numerous times, George declared he did not need the assistance of the apparatus and asked that it be removed. “It was so very gratifying and touching to watch George’s face light up as he was able to cast himself, something he never really expected to be able to do again,” said Nancy.

In the end, George didn’t catch one fish, but being able to worship God in His Great Outdoors gave him a chance to capture moments of joy that will live on.

George died in 2015.  He was 88 years old.

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