Esther Lavin Berger, a longtime Santa Barbara resident, recently bequeathed an amazing gift to Hospice of Santa Barbara. Esther passed away in July, 2011, leaving an estate bequest to HSB, which included an eclectic collection of precious and semi-precious jewelry.
In 1974, after my wife died of cancer, I began to volunteer at Hospice of Santa Barbara. I felt a strong connection with those seeking help at Hospice of Santa Barbara because I had experienced this painful loss myself and received help from Hospice of Santa Barbara. Through Hospice of Santa Barbara I met some amazing people and learned so many things about pain, loss, and acceptance. I continue to volunteer and love the connections I have made through my time here.
Leigh Block was a wealthy industrialist and art collector. He moved to the Santa Barbara area from Chicago and built a house in Montecito. The house was designed to house his art. And it was world class art.
In 1995, when my father was diagnosed with cancer, my siblings and I alternated visits to Santa Barbara to care for him during his chemotherapy weeks. When, in November of that year, the doctor told him there was nothing more they could do, we continued to visit and be there. But, as was inevitable, the day came when he needed professional care for his final days and we were at a loss for what to do.
What is Hospice? How could it have helped me as I cared for my husband who was dying of metastatic esophageal cancer? That is a question that I pondered back in 1975 as I struggled to get physicians to provide adequate pain control and allow me to take my husband home (from the hospital) to die.