From grief to giving back
Writer Rikki Rogers once said, “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
For Francie Tector, RN, that sentiment could not be truer.
The year 2011 was a difficult one for Francie, a nurse at Riverside Surgical Associates and graduate of the former Riverside Methodist Hospital School of Nursing.
It was the year she had to do the unthinkable — lay to rest both her twin sister and husband within only seven weeks of each other.
Francie’s sister, a fraternal twin, was diagnosed with brain cancer in February 2011. Upon her diagnosis, she moved into Francie’s home so that Francie could care for her. During that time, Francie’s husband, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), unexpectedly passed away at home in July 2011.
Stricken with grief for her husband, Francie continued to care for her sister until her pain required more than Francie could provide.
“I wanted to give my sister the best care, and I knew exactly who could provide it — OhioHealth Hospice at the Kobacker House,” says Francie.
Francie’s father, a patient at the original Kobacker House, passed away in 1994 from kidney failure. Without hesitation, she moved her sister to the new and recently opened Kobacker House in August 2011, just a few weeks after her husband’s death.
While staying with her sister at Kobacker House, Francie’s sister passed away peacefully just days after her arrival.
“I was with my sister when she came into this world and was there when she left. It meant so much to me to be able to care for her until the end,” she says. “God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. My sister’s strength during her journey was an inspiration to me and all who knew her.”
Fast forward to nearly a year and a half after her husband’s and sister’s passing, Francie knew she wanted to give back. With the help of volunteer services, Francie attended a OhioHealth Hospice volunteer training to begin donating her time at Kobacker House every Monday night after work.
“In a tragedy you have three choices: you can let it destroy you, define you or strengthen you. I’ve chosen to let it strengthen me,” Francie says.
Tearfully, she says volunteering is so rewarding and it enriches her life to be able to give back because of the excellent care her father and sister received at the end of their lives. Because of their care, Francie has a new perspective on how she provides care to her patients at work.
“Since my experience at Kobacker House, I have learned the importance of listening intently and being truly present,” Francie says. “When words often fail you, a simple touch of a hand matters even in the darkest of times.”