PEACE: Behind the Scenes at Christmastime …

We’re still here … HomePlace at The Hospice of East Texas.

I’ve never experienced anything quite like it …  On the outside, it’s a 28-bed, red brick building, serenely set off the highway. On the inside, it’s a haven for families waiting for a loved one to die. When I entered its doors for the first time a week ago, I quickly noticed how starkly different it was from the hospital I’d just departed. The warm-colored walls. The carpeted hallways. The beautiful wreaths lining the corridors; each bedecked with one-of-a-kind ornaments representing a wide variety of personalities.



The primary concern at HomePlace is for the comfort of the dying … and their families. The peacefulness of the chapel, library, and movie theater.  The activity of the soda shoppe, children’s playroom, and always-available jigsaw puzzles.  The blessing of 24-hour onsite physicians, unrestricted visiting hours, and quiet spaces.  Everything here is about comfort for the patient … and helping loved ones in limbo. 

There is no hustle-bustle here. The professional staff is excellent, refusing to zip in and out of the room. Ever. They understand that many of the families they serve are dealing with death “up close and personal” for the first time … and they linger to educate and encourage.



If the story stopped there, it would be a good one … but it doesn’t. Behind the scenes there is a lot of creative caring being done by volunteers.

Handmade quilts lovingly provided for each bed
Homemade cookies in the family kitchen … and a snack cart of free goodies every afternoon
Therapeutic pets
Hymns sung in the hallway for 30-45 minutes … at least once a week … by an elderly gentleman with his guitar. How his gentle gift to patients and families has touched me … twice. What comfort it brought to stand in the doorway or sit in the room and sing or hum along with him. Songs of salvation … and love … and praise. Songs of God’s faithfulness.

It’s a peaceful place. The presence of God is evident here within the walls … and in the lives of the caregivers. There’s plenty of time to think …

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

During this busy holiday season, are you taking time to seek Peace?  Are you doing anything “behind the scenes” to bring peace to others?  I’m so thankful for people who are!


  1. My husband is very involved in our hospice and is at a meeting there right now. Angels can be found walking the halls there. Blessings to you-xo Diana

  2. May peace be with your family. My MIL was recently at a cancer hospital, and everyone was so kind and the facilities were so beautiful.

  3. My mom was on hospice the last 11 days of her life (when she was no longer receiving dialysis since she had lapsed into a coma). It made me want to be a volunteer and as soon as I retired three years ago, it is what I did. Blessings to you and your family, Susan. My prayers are with you. xo

  4. Thanks for another gentle reminder of what the season is all about. I’m still praying that you have strength for this journey and that your mother in law finds a peace that passes all understanding.

  5. And I cannot explain adequately what a (for lack of a better or more appropriate word) treat it is for your readers to read these posts. You could be on a forced blog break, yet we have these updates, your thoughts and feelings… while you have our thoughts and prayers. Some of us know what you’re going through at the bedside of a beloved parent; some of us are taking lessons and notes.

    What do people do who don’t know our Savior? We are truly blessed.

    Hugs ‘n prayers,

    • Kelley, thank you so much for blessing our family with your prayers — and for affirming my recent posts. I had wondered whether I should write of such “depressing” reality, but it’s part of life … and it’s where some families find themselves. It feels right, and I pray my words will be an encouragement to others.

  6. What a beautiful post, Susan. And so very meaningful. I know what it is to sit with patients who are sying. My mother and father, and I was very young. I just wrote someone about this today, and it was the first time I had sat down to revist it in a long time. I was 19 when Daddy died, 37 when Mama died, and 39 when Granny died. All were vigils. And yes, there are angels who tread in human form in these cases.

    I’m so glad you are in a place where the King of Kings is recognized as the true meaning of the season.



  7. You’ve described such a caring place. I’m glad that you are feeling that care and concern during this hard time of waiting. Blessings of God’s peace and comfort on you and your family.

  8. What a wonderful place…I am so glad God has given your family such a caring place. East Texas…oh my, so many of my relatives there, and each received this type of care during their homecoming.’
    Praying for you all right now

  9. I’m in tears. And, I am there with you in my heart. Our health system has several hospice centers, and I know they are places of beauty.♥

  10. I am glad for the peaceful, calm, carrying atmosphere. That’s always such a comfort when it seems like your world is otherwise turned so upside down. A lot of times people don’t seem to understand that it’s not just the patient who is suffering. Families and friends, although suffering in a much different way, are faced with a pain that nothing can erase as they try to mentally prepare themselves for their loved ones end. So good that it’s a place of comfort right now.

  11. Oh Susan, I know this is one of the last places that anyone “wants” to be at Christmas time, but I am so blessed by the presence of hospice in our world. Whether it’s the in home care through them like we had with my dad or the actual facilities, it is the kind of care that IMO is straight from the heart of the father.

    I love that the man sings hymns every day.

    I continue to lift you MIL, and you, and very much your husband. I can imagine how mine will feel if… when he is in those shoes.