Meet Richard and Carol and Mason

Carol is Richard’s mom. She always imagined she would be able to handle caring for her son. So when Richard was handed a two to twelve month life expectancy by his doctors, they decided it best for him to move to Indianapolis from his home in Baton Rouge. At least that would eliminate the 850-mile drive and it brought her son home.

Richard, with visits from his son Mason, brought joy and exuberance to Carol and her husband Rex’s home. The two would fill their days racing around The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, playing games at the local Chuck E. Cheese’s or, on more mellow days, the pair would snuggle up and catch countless cartoons.

When Mason visited, Richard devoted all of his time and energy to his son. Some nights the TV wouldn’t be turned off until two or three in the morning.

But, when late May came, Richard could barely speak to Mason.

“That was the saddest part of the whole experience,” reflected Carol. “Richard adored that boy, then he almost went inside himself.”

Richard’s transition from bad to worse happened in what seemed like an instant. Carol and Rex left their home for a week-long vacation at the end of May. When they returned, Richard was suffering unbearable pain. It took the family forty-five minutes to transport him from his room to the car; he couldn’t stand to be touched.

It was then that they decided to turn to The Gathering Together, a decision that was especially tough on Carol.carol2

“I’m mom,” she said, laughing in hindsight. “I should be the one taking care of him!”

However, Carol recognized that the pain Richard was experiencing transcended her ability to provide comfort for him.

Richard moved into The Gathering together on Saturday, May 31st, and his mother observed the staff and volunteers like a hawk, as Richard was immediately put on morphine. But, the care and atmosphere quickly put Carol and the rest of the family at ease.

“It felt like we were in our own home,” reminisced Richard’s stepfather, Rex. “I told [Carol], if I ever need hospice care, I want to go there!”

At the time of Richard’s visit, there was a volunteer named Abby working at The Gathering Together, and she would often visit Richard’s room, comforting him with her amiable presence and playing songs on her guitar to soothe him.

Richard passed away on Wednesday, June 4th, after saying his final goodbye to his son. Richard was 57 years old.

“I think Abby sang him right into heaven,” said Carol.

“It was beautiful,” added Carol. “He passed beautifully. I’m a believer that he would not have passed that beautifully in a nursing home or a hospital. God was just there. He was in the whole thing.”

Carol never imagined that she would have to face losing one of her own, beloved children, but the family’s experience at The Gathering Together, she said, made it acceptable.

Richard’s care at The Gathering Together was completely free——a fact that Carol affectionately labels as being a “tremendous blessing.”

As an act of continued gratitude and support, Carol recently organized a bake sale, enlisting the help of her friends and local groceries, and donated all of the proceeds to The Gathering Together.

“I would do anything to help [The Gathering Together],” she said. “Anything.”

Thank you, Carol, for sharing this story with us.