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A mother’s last wish renews her son’s faith and brings her peace

Donna Solie, who lived at Lake Minnetonka Shores, understood clearly that her life’s journey was nearing its end. During the last six months of her life, she had been admitted to the hospital several times due to her declining health. Donna chose to enlist the services of Optage Hospice.

As Donna transitioned to hospice care, Stephanie Horak, who serves on the Lake Minnetonka Shores staff as the ResoLute Quality in Living Specialist, talked with her and her daughter-in-law, Nancy, about what mattered most to Donna and her wishes for the remainder of her life. An important part of both ResoLute and Optage Hospice is to help people reflect on their life and assess what they feel is left unfinished. In the course of the conversation, Donna mentioned how she regretted that her son had never been baptized.

“That came as a surprise to me!” said her son, Glen, who has been an active and faithful member of the Lutheran Church (ELCA) his entire life. “Nancy and I married and raised our four daughters in the church,” he said.

When she was 26 years old, Donna suffered a stroke shortly after Glen was born, followed by a long recovery. Glen concludes that this likely contributed to his not being baptized as an infant. Yet it never came up between them until Donna’s last weeks of life. For his entire life, Glen simply assumed that he had been baptized.

“Donna told us that [Glen not being baptized] had weighed on her heart for years. We were touched when she brought this to light,” Nancy said. Glen was more than willing to be baptized, not only for his mother but for himself. Stephanie and the Optage Hospice Team quickly made arrangements for Glen to receive the sacrament of baptism while Donna could be a part of it.

On June 25, 2018, three generations gathered in the Chapel of the Living Waters at Lake Minnetonka Shores as Donna presented her son to receive the sacrament of baptism. Optage Hospice Chaplain Jennifer Johnson officiated, sprinkling baptismal water on Glen’s head in the tradition of the Lutheran faith. “It was a very memorable moment that reinforced my faith and will stay with me forever,” said Glen. He noted that it was particularly meaningful that his daughters were there to witness the occasion. “They were so happy, even as they understood the gravity and urgency for their grandmother,” he said.

Nancy’s heart was touched deeply as well. “For our daughters to see their grandma and dad share this moment was really special,” she said. “They see Glen as ‘Dad.’ There they saw him as Donna’s child. It was a unique moment as they witnessed their dad affirming his faith.”

When Stephanie met with Donna following the service, it was evident to her that Donna felt at peace in her spirit knowing that she had fulfilled this significant milestone in her son’s spiritual life. Stephanie commented, “I was personally blessed, as was our whole team, in seeing God provide this opportunity for Donna and her family. It was a precious gift for us all.”

Ten days later, Donna passed away at 2:00 am with her family at her side. They received love and prayer as Pastor Jennifer offered the PHS Bedside Memorial, a brief service of worship shared at the time of death. “After the baptism, our family’s coming together at the end of Donna’s life was filled with blessing,” said Nancy.

“Our experience with Presbyterian Homes & Services and the last days with Optage were so good,” said Glen. “The kindness and attention of the staff made Mom’s last years happy ones and she was able to live well and have fun,” he said.

About ResoLute
ResoLute stands for “Resident Empowered Solutions on Living Until the End.” The initiative strives to support residents and loved ones as they embrace the process of aging with purpose, determination, and an unwavering commitment to uphold what matters most in the late stages of life. ResoLute Quality in Living Specialists are trained by Empira, a collaborative of Presbyterian Homes & Services, Elim Care, Saint Therese and Volunteers of America.
 

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