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Blog: Stories and Insight

The Joy of Family

Edilia O’Hara loves her family and they love her. The bonds of families are often tested during hard times. When Edilia was diagnosed with lung cancer, it became obvious that the bonds of this family would  strengthen, not bend or break. She began the journey of care surrounded by the love of her husband, daughters, their partners, and her beloved grandchildren.

The family pitched in to help their beloved matriarch. Moving into her daughter, Natalie Ayala’s home she received the healing love of her sweet grandchildren. Natalie recalls the joy her mother expressed at being able to have them close by. The kids were equally delighted, excited to read to grandma and spend time with her.

After receiving Samaritan’s hospice care at home for two months, Edilia O’Hara was admitted to The Samaritan Center at Voorhees for severe pain caused by her lung cancer. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions her large family couldn’t be at her bedside. But, they found a way to let her know they were there!

Understanding the importance of family instilled into them by their mother, Natalie and her sisters made arrangements to bring the family safely together. Working with the staff at Samaritan a window bedside visit was arranged. The moment came and Edilia pushed herself to show her joy and love to her family through a smile. The visit from her grandchildren, son-in-laws, husband, and daughters brought joy to her spirit. In the face of adversity, the O’Hara family remembered that the unconditional love and joy of family is a soothing balm.

Samaritan Social Worker Colleen Fritsch said, “The limitations on visiting are hard for us because we value love and togetherness at the end of life. [Seeing Edilia smile so big at the sight of her family] gave us so much hope and joy.”