Summer Remembrance 2020 keynote speaker: “How hospice brought me peace”

Jason Messier of West Warwick, RI, is a charismatic businessman, elected town official, and proud champion for hospice care and grief support services.

He’s been raising awareness of hospice since 2018 when his father, Dicky, passed away in the care of HopeHealth.

Jason knew little about hospice prior to his father’s illness. “I thought hospice was just a place for people to go and die,” he said bluntly. “But I realized how much more it was, not just for the individuals going through it but for the family, too.”

Jason will share his passion as a featured speaker at HopeHealth’s annual Summer Evening of Hope & Remembrance on June 23—streaming live online for the first time ever.

How hospice gave Jason’s father peace and security

When Dicky’s health was failing due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he received steady, compassionate care from a team of hospice nurses and aides over the last five weeks of his life.

“They were a tremendous help,” Jason recalled. “It was probably the least stressful time for me and my family. I was kind of blown away.”

Man cooking in the kitchen

Although Jason lived next door to Dicky, work and family commitments left him unable to provide round-the-clock care. The hospice care team checked in regularly and called Jason with any concerns.

“I always felt very confident with them being there,” Jason said.

A HopeHealth caregiver was present when Dicky unexpectedly lost consciousness after a shower. Jason rushed back to his father’s bedside three minutes before he passed away, for which Jason feels forever grateful.

How grief support helped Jason look within

After Dicky died, Jason received one-on-one counseling for a little over a year from HopeHealth’s Sarah Cordeiro, a grief counselor.

“One of the things I realized is that with grief, lots of other things come up and it may not feel like they’re associated with the death of a loved one,” Jason explained. “Sarah helped me navigate through other issues in my personal life that came to the forefront in grief.”

Dicky was a uniquely funny and devoted family man, Jason recalled warmly, who also “had his demons” and missed many baseball games and school events while working long hours as a restaurant chef.

Counseling helped Jason learn from his father’s mistakes and focus on being a present, engaged father to his own two children.

Grandpa hugging his young grandson

“If you break your arm or leg, you’re going to go see a doctor. There’s nothing wrong with going to see a counselor], especially when you’re grieving,” Jason says.

“It brought me some peace to work on things,” he adds.

Register here for A Summer Evening of Hope & Remembrance, streaming live on June 23 at 6:00 p.m. Invite your friends and family!

Summer Remembrance Event

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, HopeHealth’s Annual Summer Evening of Hope & Remembrance will be held virtually via live stream. All are welcome to attend this free event and honor the memory of lost loved ones. Pre-register here.

In addition to Jason’s remarks, the event will feature readings, meditations and musical performances from staff members and volunteers.

Diana Franchitto, president & CEO of HopeHealth, said her team has come up with imaginative ways to make this virtual event special.

“A great thing about live streaming is people can invite friends and family from out of town who otherwise couldn’t attend in person,” Diana said. “We hope to convey all of the emotion and togetherness of past years with even more people.”

Jason looks forward to honoring the life of his father and the impact of HopeHealth caregivers.

“Maybe just by me spreading the word about it, somebody may want to choose hospice or make a donation, which helps [HopeHealth] do more good for more people,” he said.

Join us for A Summer Evening of Hope & Remembrance on June 23 at 6:00 p.m.! This year’s annual event will be held virtually via live stream. Register here.

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