GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — For 40 years, Hospice of Michigan not-for-profit organization has been committed to their mission of providing quality end-of-life care for all regardless of age, diagnosis, or ability to pay.
The organization focuses not just on the patient’s needs, but the needs of the family member, providing caregiver support and guidance, including important bereavement support to help loved ones cope with their loss.
Often, hospice care makes such an impact that caregivers want to give back and make sure others know that they have these resources available.
After her hospice experience, one grateful caregiver, Wendy Rodriquez, has embarked on a new path – one that is inspired by her late husband - opening a boutique that is dedicated to giving back.
Wendy's husband, Jorge Rodriquez, moved to the U.S. in 1999 from Argentina and was a personal trainer. A disciplined and serious man - had a philosophy degree and an affinity to owls because of what they represented spiritually and symbolically and collected 5,000 of them.
Jorge was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and during his battle, Wendy and Jorge received an out pour of support from the Michigan community but shortly after his diagnosis, they decided to move to their small condo in Florida.
Not familiar with hospice, the couple noticed a pamphlet in the oncologist's office, but it was an emergency room doctor that recommended hospice.
Hospice care was the biggest blessing for Wendy and Jorge, the support system was what they needed during that time. Hospice focused on managing Jorge's pain, he was able to stay in his home, hospice provided all the equipment and it was 100% covered.
Through Jorge's illness, searching for owls became a distraction from his illness. He received many gifts and often traveled great distances to pick them up. Once, Jorge and Wendy drove to New York to pick up a hundred owls.
In February of 2019, Jorge passed away from cancer.
Upon return to Michigan, Wendy sought bereavement support and learned about grief support offered by Hospice of Michigan through her best friend.
"Sue Glover, their grief support services manager was wonderful," said Wendy. "We had one-on-one sessions for a few months, then started going to groups ... So grateful for the support that was available to me."
Paying it forward and honoring Jorge's legacy and the amazing impact of Hospice of Michigan's support, Wendy was inspired to open her own home and lifestyle boutique in Ada on November 4, on Jorge's birthday.
Wendy's mom, a graphic artist, designed Periwinkle's Home & Lifestyle Boutique's logo, which is an owl in Jorge's memory.
In thinking about what to do with the owl collection, Wendy thought to sell them and donate the money to Hospice of Michigan.
She also established a Giving Tree in the store that explains the significance of the owls and where the proceeds go.
To learn more about Hospice of Michigan you can visit their website at https://www.hom.org/
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