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Seasons Patient Celebrates 50th Wedding Anniversary

It began with a dare.  During Memorial Day weekend in 1965, the future Mrs. Barbara Hanson was standing on the shore-line of Rehoboth Beach when a voice from a distance said, "I dare you to jump in." Naturally, she did. Two weeks later, the young man who dared Barbara to jump in proposed to her.  On April 23, 1966, Barbara and James Hanson became husband and wife. In those early years together, one doesn't think about what the end will be. Instead, attention is focused on each other, raising children, paying bills, and the overall rhythm of daily living.  No one wants to imagine what life will be like when the "death do us part" becomes a reality. But on April 19, 2016, Barbara and James were thrust into the realization that time was quickly slipping away.  

James was seventy-one years old and in the span of 3 months, he was hospitalized on several occasions related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. It became apparent that there was not much time left and hospice was recommended. He agreed to Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care's services, but only on one condition: that he could return home as soon as possible to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with Barbara.

"As soon as I heard about Mr. Hanson's request, I knew we needed to bring these lovebirds together," said Danielle Lagerence, Clinical Nurse Liaison.  "We wanted to honor his request to celebrate this momentous milestone."

The pressure was on for the Delaware team and the Inpatient Center staff.  Danielle and the Seasons team soon realized that James was not stable enough to travel home.  He was admitted to the Seasons Hospice Inpatient Center at Christiana Hospital where the team could make him comfortable.  Danielle recruited the help of Jenny Borgwardt, Music Therapist, and the Hanson children to fulfill James' request.

Barbara and James had already created a legacy together. Their children and their grandchildren are testament to that. The love shared between the two is evident in their smiles and the way they look at each other. On Saturday, April 23, 2016, 50 years after their initial sharing of "I Do," Barbara and James celebrated their anniversary in the Inpatient Center surrounded by family and the Seasons staff. To commemorate this day, the Seasons Hospice Foundation provided a wedding cake and flowers.  A small plaque was ordered that said "Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary."  While not the desired setting, the love that was in the room could transcend the boundaries of the hospital.

Like any great love story, there is an ending—one in which your heart catches in your throat. The next day after celebrating 50 years together, Barbara and James said goodbye.  James died peacefully on Sunday, April 24, 2016.  Barbara revealed that she has her moments when she cries easily—while in the shower, brushing her teeth, listening to a song on the radio…  After spending 50 years together, it is nearly impossible for her not to think of him with every step she takes. Despite this, she challenges herself to try new things and renew friendships.  She takes one day at a time. Her memories help her face those days.

"Barbara has been so grateful to everyone at Seasons," said Jenny. "I am so happy that we were able to provide happy memories for the both of them right up to the very end.  To be able to help celebrate their love story was a true honor for me and our team."