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A Dying Wish



Her father’s grand piano sat silently in one corner of the living room—Jini Ansheles rested peacefully in the other, surrounded by her loving family. She laid in a bed covered in deep red paisley sheets.
 
Jini was dying.
 
She chose to live her final months with the same uncompromising style and humor with which she lived her life. During those months in hospice care, she often enjoyed chocolate and champagne toasts, and happy hours with her family. On the last night of her life, Jini, at 98, was wearing earrings, pink lipstick, and Superman socks on her feet.
 
“We talked about how every woman has that ‘thing’ without which they don’t feel complete in public. For me, it’s mascara; for Ginny, it was earrings and lipstick,” explained  Amanda Carr, RN, who works for VNA Home Health Hospice, and cared for Jini. “We would laugh and smile, and have so much fun in that living room during those visits. That’s so much of what hospice is about,” Amanda explained.
 
The pair shared a love of music and Amanda would often play the piano for Jini. It was Easter Sunday, 2017, when Amanda made her last visit. Knowing that Jini was dying, Amanda brought her sheet music with her, just in case she was asked to play.
 
“They asked me, once the business of our nursing visit was over, if I would play. And I smiled and offered to get the music from the car,” recalled Amanda.
 
She played several songs, including “Vincent,” one of Amanda’s longtime favorites and one she and Jini had talked about in those earlier visits. The energy in the room was incredible. Even with fumbled notes here and there, Amanda said there wasn't a dry eye in the house. 
 
“It’s such an honor and a privilege we are granted in what we do in hospice. In music and champagne toasts, incredible people and families, and patients that share their most vulnerable—and yet strongest—moments, we often receive as much, if not more, than we give.”
 
A short time after Amanda left the house, Jini died peacefully, surrounded by her loving family. 
  
Learn more about VNA Home Health Hospice at vnahomehealth.org.

We’d like to hear your story of how your team plays a positive role in creating an exceptional patient experience. Email us at yourstory@emhs.org.