Meet Eugene, a patient at Hospice of Southern Illinois.
Hospice of Southern Illinois met Eugene a short time ago when his doctor recommended hospice to help him through his end-of-life journey due to terminal cancer. Eugene is just like many of us. He is full of love for his spouse, family, and dog, Miko. He smiled at little jokes I cracked and give me a hard time when I told him to share his life story in about 30 seconds for the video he was helping us with stating, “I can’t raise up a farm in 30 seconds”. Although Eugene is like us in many ways, he is, however, dealing with what we will all experience someday in life, our end-of-life journey.
I sure hope I can be as strong, positive, and humble as this man. He is also a proud Veteran. Hospice of Southern Illinois hopes Eugene’s story will help other Veterans and individuals with a terminal illness understand that hospice can help people be pain free, relieve some day-to-day stress and anxiety, and keep them in their home or home-like setting through their final days. Learn more about Eugene’s story.
Eugene, also known as Gene, was born and raised on a farm in Bunker Hill. Gene, a proud Veteran, served in the Navy from June 1951 to June 1955. Because he was getting close to the drafting age, he joined following in his brothers’ footsteps. He spent most of his service on the USS Albuquerque PF-7 in Korea. Years after he returned home to family and friends, he met his wife Shirley years later at a local diner.
Gene had a job hauling milk from the local farmers to the dairy. During his route to the Collinsville dairy he would stop at a drive-in called Pat’s Restaurant, which Shirley’s parents owned. She’d hop into the truck and they would chat over lunch. Their first official date was in “1956… or was 1957” - Gene challenges due to the fact that it was New Year’s Eve. Gene and Shirley have lived a full life full of unexpected moments and wonderful blessings including 4 boys of their own, who are all over the world, and 2 grandchildren, who unfortunately are no longer with them. Today they are settled on a 3-acre home with their Chihuahua, Miko, and enjoy their peaceful property and large garden.
Gene shared that he feels hospice is keeping him pain free and at home with those closest to him. He wants other Veterans and people to know that Hospice of Southern Illinois “has a lot of love and care for their patients.” He added leaning into Shirley, “and hospice saves a lot of wear and tear on her body and mine too.” They not only turn to hospice for support, but they also rely on their church family. They left us with a quote they live by everyday, “You are not discouraged unless the situation you face seems bigger than the god you serve – how big is your God?” They stressed to always tell those you love that you love them with all your heart, for it could be the last time you see them.
Thank you, Gene, for your service and for sharing your story! Gene’s story will always be remembered and that story will help reassure others that when treatment is no longer a choice or an option, Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to help.
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Hospice of Southern Illinois