Why We Support Hospice: Becky Rantanen’s Story

My father had one request of his children before he passed away in 1996: “Take care of your mother.” Dad spent his final days in a hospital, uncomfortable and homesick. We did not know about Hospice at the time. We vowed it would be different for Mom.

Gladys English
Mom enjoying a day at the lake with her grandchildren.

My mother, Gladys English, was a remarkable woman. Her sense of humor was the best, and she loved her family with all her heart. My mother could never bear to see any living creature suffer. When she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, combined with her existing COPD, my siblings and I knew we would not let her suffer.

We faced challenges. Mom lived in her own home, in the small, rural Minnesota community of Mentor. She was miles from a medical facility. In the years since my father passed, I had become acquainted with the remarkable services Hospice provides through my involvement with the Naytahwaush Nightriders, a snowmobile club that each year raises money for Hospice. I had always admired the work of Hospice, but like so many others, I found you can only truly appreciate it when you need it for someone you love.

My siblings and I wanted to keep Mom at home. We wanted her to spend her last days free of pain. We wanted her to enjoy warm summer days on the pontoon at our lake home, for her to share laughs with her grandkids, to savor the precious moments she had left. Hospice of the Red River Valley made it possible for us to fulfill Mom’s wishes and ours. With the help of Hospice, we could focus on Mom—not on the details of her care.

Becky Rantanen and Gladys English
This is my favorite picture of Mom and me, taken shortly before she passed away under Hospice care.

The Hospice nurses and other staff were outstanding. At the first sign of pain, the nurses were there to provide relief. We felt empowered to make care decisions that were best for Mom. She passed away peacefully on August 8, 2011. Because of the serene experience she had under the care of Hospice, I can honestly say our family has no regrets about her last months. I know that Dad would be so happy with the care Mom received, and so are we.

The hearts of our rural communities are the people—the moms, dads, neighbors and friends who fill our church pews, cheer in the football stands and greet us on the sidewalk. I strongly believe our friends and family in rural settings deserve the same compassionate care found in big cities—and Hospice of the Red River Valley makes this possible. Without the financial support of people like you and me, my mom would have spent her final days in a hospital far away from her community and the house she called home.

My mom deserved Hospice, because all she ever did was give. Now, it is my turn to make sure someone else’s mother or father gets the care he or she deserves. Please give a gift today to help me ensure the care is there for all of us in the future—no matter where we call home.


Becky Rantanen