“I know what it’s like to need someone to give you a relief and after he passed away, I said that I was going to do it for others,” Williams said somberly. “They were my hospice for my husband. He had been with them for about five months before he passed, and I’ve just accepted all of them as family.”
In October 2012, Williams’ third husband, Daniel Williams, started having strokes due to problems with his heart and high blood pressure. The couple’s doctor, Steve Johnson, recommended that they seek hospice care for Daniel. Someone then suggested the company Southeast Hospice Network.
“I just saw the caring and how they treated the family, not only the patient but the family, too. I mean they cared about me also,” Williams said. “I knew it was a hard thing to do, to find someone to trust to leave your loved one. It’s hard to get someone to come in like that if you don’t know them.”
Williams is originally from Lamar County. She and her first husband had two children together. After his death, she met her second husband who already had nine children. Then, after he passed away, Williams met Daniel — who previously had seven children — through the popular website eharmony.
“I had always said when I was a kid that I was going to have 18 kids ... that’s what I had,” Williams laughed. “Although I only gave birth to two of them, but I had 18. My second husband and I were foster parents for 10 years, and we had 30 children in our home during that time.”
After Daniel’s passing, Williams wanted to volunteer her time with the hospice care agency. She now donates her time by visiting with patients in nursing homes, making bibs and aprons for both men and women hospice patients, making Christmas bags and helping out at the hospice office in the Medical Plaza East location.
Southeast Hospice Network community educator Ben Humphries said Williams recently shared her story at a memorial service the company held in October. He and Williams agreed that just because hospice is recommended to a family doesn’t mean that death is inevitable in a patient’s life.
“Just because hospice comes out doesn’t mean that [a person’s] death is set in stone,” Humphries said. “Take advantage of the help if it’s made available, whether it be a day, a month or six months.
“There is help, and you don’t have to give up hope ... but, in any circumstance if there is help available, take advantage of it,” Humphries added. “Our patients, they become our family.”
Williams also stated that by volunteering with the office it has helped her cope with the grieving process after her husband’s death. She started volunteering at Southeast Hospice Network in March shortly after his passing.
“The main thing that I would really like for people to understand is that you can still have a life. You don’t have to just sit at home and grieve by yourself,” Williams said. “There are other people around that are there to help you.”
November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month. Hospice care serves patients who are seriously or terminally ill. Hospice helps treat a patient’s illness by tending to their needs, whether it be physical, emotional or even spiritual.
If you would like to volunteer your services or know someone who is in need of hospice care, call Southeast Hospice Network’s volunteer coordinator/social worker Stefanie Colvin at (205) 387-2300.