MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — In our final days, most of us would like to enjoy the company of family and friends. A comfortable, home-like setting can make what could be a very sad time less stressful. That's the mission of a non-profit in Morristown: Friends of Hospice Serenity House.
"We just got to spend the last precious moments just loving him and just enjoying that time with him," Jonathon Bewley said.
The family of Jack Bewley knew that time would be precious.
His wife Sue, his son Jonathon, and his daughters, Judy Wise, Amy Jones, and Tereasa Hayes had been caring for their 81-year-old father at home.
"We had a lot of in-home care and we were trying ourselves to help our mom and it gets to a point where it is a 24-hour thing, and we're trying to manage our own jobs and our own families but also be there for dad," Jonathon said.
They needed somewhere that offered comfort-care for the terminally ill in a loving environment. They found a good fit at Friends of Hospice Serenity House in Morristown.
"Death with dignity. That's what we're all about," Jan Gallman said.
She is a retired nurse and one of the volunteers with a heart for end-of-life care.
"We have a lot of people who give their time and their effort, a lot of volunteers and we're blessed, we're blessed," she said.
Serenity House has served almost 200 residents. It moved to a renovated building last fall. Jan volunteered at the previous location. It was 800 square feet and could accommodate two residents.
"It was so small that the washer and the dryer and the sink and everything were just in one room. We were so limited in what we could do," she said.
The more spacious place allows care for 3 to 4 patients and a lot more room for families like the Bewleys.
"One moment when my son came in my dad had a really special moment where he looked up and saw him and we'll treasure that forever," Jonathon said.
Churches donate supplies and funds but Serenity House depends on individual donors to support its mission. That's because there's no charge for a service that is priceless.
"He was able to relax and know that he wasn't really a burden. He could just enjoy that time with us as well," Jonathon said.