Mission House: Helping families make memories until the very end

One of the many reasons Mission Hospice opened a hospice house for our community was to create a homelike place for people who can’t stay in their own homes – and where they can spend time with their loved ones at the end of life. We love to hear from families that Mission House is a relaxing, peaceful place where they always feel welcome. 

Stephanine GasparThis is true even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because each private room has its own outside entrance, families can visit safely. They can also enjoy time together in the lovely back yard.

Despite the masks and other protective gear, the house is still filled with smiles, stories, music, laughter, and tears. “We continue to provide a safe and comfortable space for patients and families to be together,” says Stephanine Gaspar, Mission House Program Manager, “even during the pandemic. There’s really nothing like it.”

While stays at Mission House are typically just a few weeks, the house truly does become a home to many who pass through its doors. Some of them have been so moved by their time at the house that they have found generous and creative ways to give back.

Jill and Sandy delivering blankets to the hospice houseEach month, we’ve received a donation of blankets lovingly handmade by San Jose resident Jill Smith after we cared for her husband Kyle last year. Together with her friend Sandy Heick, Jill has been making blankets in a variety of colors and patterns to provide extra comfort to our Mission House patients – and to serve as a memento that families can keep.

Jill explains that she was inspired to make these blankets for Mission Hospice with “thanks for the loving, special care you gave to Kyle, and to me as well. I couldn’t have done it without you all!”

Others share the feeling that Mission House was a wonderful surprise. “As soon as we came to the front door, we knew this was totally different from anything we had imagined, said Daniel Capps. “Mom had her own room; it was probably the closest to coming home without being home.”

The house has inspired other creative efforts. King’s Mountain resident and longtime painter Vibeke Gade has been a volunteer with the Mission Hospice Auxiliary since 2012. As President of the Auxiliary since 2018, Vibs has led the group in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help open and maintain the house. Last fall, after all that Vibs has done to support Mission Hospice, we were able to support her family during her husband Robert’s final weeks. Afterwards, Vibs was inspired to sketch Mission House, as a way of sharing how much it had meant to her and her family. 

“What’s special about Mission House, especially this year,” says Stephanine, “is that family members can visit any time, any day. We even allow them to sleep over, so they can be together in the last moments of life.”

“This is their time. We create that space for them.”