The magnet on my parent’s refrigerator was one of the things I grabbed before closing the door to their home for the last time. The full quote by John Wesley captured the essence of Dave and Lucy’s life, for they went about, ‘doing all the good they can, to all the people they can, in all the ways they can, as long as ever they can.’ In September 2008, Dave and Lucy moved from their rural home on a farm in North Carolina to an assisted living facility near my home in Richmond. While they may have doubted I was doing them all the good I could, at age 90 it was necessary for them to live closer to family.
Dave and Lucy quickly became the ‘beau and belle’ of the ball, bringing their gifts of humor, poetry and song into the social life of their new residence. Dave used his beautiful bass voice and lively harmonica at social gatherings. Lucy with her North Carolina accent, charmed people with her gracious manner and often said, “Thank you, baby!” in appreciation for hospitable gestures. In their little corner of the world, Dave & Lucy were often overheard reminiscing about home, family, friends, and the love they shared, endearing and enduring through 71 years of marriage.
Dave’s health began to fail and at the age of 94, Lucy suffered a broken bone, that’s when the Crater Community Hospice team came on board. The CCH team was a beam of light on a gray horizon, guiding my parents and our family through the murky waters of uncertainty.
Dave was a WWII Navy Veteran and the CCH social worker arranged for a Navy Corporal to visit. Dave was honored for his service in a pinning ceremony and was given a beautiful quilt with a Navy theme. Dave proudly shared his Navy stories and was deeply touched by all the fanfare. A long forgotten smile was back on his face that day. Dave continued the downward spiral into their 71st anniversary, followed by Lucy’s 97th birthday the same week. He huffed and puffed on his harmonica to play Happy Birthday for Lucy one last time. The hospice team attended to Dave frequently as he quickly transitioned into the dying phase. When David passed, Lucy was distraught with grief. The chaplain sat with Lucy, his presence and listening skills were of great comfort. He quoted a verse from a hymn that my mother loved, “Blessed Assurance.” The words fell like feathers, slowly, softly and gently soothing our broken hearts.
Nearly 2 ½ years after Dave’s passing, at the age of 99, Lucy had another big fall and broke another bone. Once again Crater Community Hospice came to our aid. Soon after, Lucy joined her beloved David. Looking back on the day of Lucy’s passing, the care given to her appeared divinely ordered. All the good she did for others flowed back to her in a beautiful send off.
Beverly Vandevender, Daughter of Lucy & Dave