Hospice nurse Monica Powell with hospice patient Anna Henson

MARTINSBURG — May 24, 2019, is a day that Patricia Hosby and Bill Bailey will remember forever.

Not just because it was their wedding day, but because they got to celebrate with a very small group of close family members and friends, including their elderly mothers.

Hosby’s mom, Anna Henson, had been residing at Elmcroft Assisted Living for several months. Recently, because of dementia and pulmonary fibrosis diagnoses, Henson became a Hospice of the Panhandle patient. Bailey’s mother’s health also had declined recently.

“We just knew that when we wanted to start a new life together, we wanted our moms to be able to celebrate with us,” Hosby said.

While the engagement lasted for a longer period of time, Patricia and Bill made the wedding plans in about two weeks. They married at the Hilton Garden Inn in Martinsburg, on the day before Patricia’s mom turned 88.

“We both felt like every day we have our moms with us is a real blessing,” said Hosby, who is an only child. Hosby has been caring for her mother almost single-handedly for the past four years.

With the help of the staff at Elmcroft, Henson looked as beautiful as the bride on her wedding day. Staff at Elmcroft helped with Henson’s hair, while Hosby picked out on a pretty pink pantsuit for her mother to wear. And when it came time to get Henson to the venue, Ryneal Transport, an ambulance company, made sure that happened with ease.

“I can’t say enough about Elmcroft and Ryneal, and of course, Hospice, for helping to make this happen,” Hosby said.

Hospice nurse Monica Powell accompanied Henson to the ceremony.

“(The nurse manager) asked on Monday if someone could go with her, and I told them I’d love to,” said Powell, who has been a crisis care, on-call nurse for Hospice of the Panhandle for the past year and a half.

“I knew it was going to be difficult for Mrs. Henson to be there without help, but I didn’t want her to miss it,” Powell said. “It was so nice to do something like this and such a privilege for me to help her to be there to enjoy living!”

Hosby had nothing but praise for all the “skilled people” who helped her that day. Besides the regular pre-matrimony jitters, said she had “no worries” that day, knowing her mom was well taken care of.

“(Monica) was absolutely great,” Hosby said of the nursing care her mom received that day and throughout her month-long tenure in Hospice. “I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be by her side. I truly, truly thank Hospice, not just for the wedding, but for all the services.”

And as for Powell, the hospice nurse: “I will remember this forever.”

Maria Lorensen has been the development director at Hospice of the Panhandle for 10 years. Hospice is a not-for-profit agency that has cared for patients and families with life-limiting illnesses in Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire and Jefferson counties since 1980. For more information on how hospice helps residents of the four-county area live more fully, call (304) 264-0406, or visit on-line at www.hospiceotp.org