There are some things that only Big Bend Hospice can do, that only Big Bend Hospice cares enough to do. We learned this when our dads – Dr. Richard P. Lamb and Herbert W. Chandler – spent their final days at Margaret Z. Dozier Hospice House. We are honored to write you this letter and share their story. Once you read it, you’ll understand why we all should do everything we can to support our hometown Hospice.
This is a story of lifelong friendship and of a goodbye so special that it still gives us chills, but first, we want to tell you about our dads. Richard and Herb were true Southern gentlemen; they were “Old Tallahassee.” Richard was a beloved dentist for 44 years, and Herb was a pioneering hotelier who owned and developed many properties including the town’s first Ramada Inn. As their children, we remember their kindness, their quiet strength and the remarkable bond they shared.
Their friendship started about 1930, when they were just five or six years old, both living behind the Tallahassee Armory, now the Tallahassee Senior Center. They spent their days playing, running between their homes, and walking to and from school. They swam together back when you could swim in Lake Ella, and it was called Bull Pond. As adults, they played golf at Capital City Country Club, enjoyed dinner at the Silver Slipper during its heyday on South Monroe Street and never missed an FSU football game.
Richard and Herb’s bond came full circle when they were both admitted to Hospice House.
Herb was admitted first at age 91, and Richard a week later at age 90. We were so surprised when we discovered that they were in rooms directly across from each other. It was then that our families shared an experience that only Big Bend Hospice could make possible.
Richard and Herb could not communicate with words, but we had to bring them together one last time. The nurses wheeled Richard into Herb’s room and placed their beds side by side. Big Bend Hospice staff prayed with us, sang hymns, and helped us sing the FSU Fight Song. The peace and joy we felt, even in the midst of our grief, are indescribable. There is no doubt in our minds that our dads knew we were all together. Before that day, Herb seemed to be hanging on for something or someone, but we weren’t really sure what it was. Once we brought them together, he was at peace. Herb died the next day on Wednesday, July 13, 2016; Richard died on Saturday, July 16.
Our families have talked a lot about what happened at Hospice House. We can only describe it as divine love, but here’s something to consider – the comfort we experienced could not have happened anywhere else. Only Big Bend Hospice cares enough to pray with you, sing with you and hold your hand. Your generosity makes this extraordinary care possible, and we are so thankful. That’s why we’re writing you this letter.
Will you join us in supporting Big Bend Hospice and ensuring that other families receive this same care?
Big Bend Hospice was so kind to us. The staff truly listened and took time to learn how they could comfort our families. Hospice House felt like home. The rooms are private and quiet. Volunteers provide homemade food and drinks. A music therapist is available to every patient, and Veterans like our fathers can receive a ceremony in recognition of their service. None of us is ever ready to say goodbye, but when that time comes, there’s no better place to be than with Big Bend Hospice – either in your own home or at Hospice House.
Our dads shared joy with others their entire lives. That goodwill came back to them at Hospice. Thank you for helping us keep their spirit of friendship going by supporting patients and families who are experiencing serious illness and grief.
-The children of Richard Lamb and Herb Chandler