Holiday Grief: Tampa Bay families thankful for final moments with loved ones

Dealing with grief during the holidays: Tampa families thankful for last moments with loved ones

St.Petersburg, FL - Many of you are probably going to the store to get those last minute things for Thanksgiving.

But there are families in the Tampa Bay area dealing with grief during the holiday.

Pam Conway has been spending the last two weeks at a Hospice facility in St. Petersburg.

Her autistic brother PJ, suffered a series of strokes that he wasn’t able to recover from.

“He just never woke up,” says Conway. “Everything happened pretty quickly, so we can just hope that he passes peacefully.”

Conway says she’s thankful for these final moments with her brother, knowing he is being taken care of by nurses like Michele LeCroy.

“I've learned how to live by helping people die,” says LeCroy.

LeCroy has been a Hospice nurse for 18 years.

During her early days working in the medical field, Michele had a hard time dealing with the fact, that people pass away.

She was invested in each and every patient. 

“I feared, as a nurse, death, but now it's my passion,” says LeCroy.

We asked Michele when she realized, that being a Hospice nurse was her calling.

“I remember it was the Fourth of July and a patient was dying and they just took this man and put him in the corner and allowed him to die alone,” she says. “I decided just to sit with him and hold his hand and watch the fireworks. I'll never forget that. I said there has to be something more. No one should die alone. “

Dealing with death, Michelle says, especially during the holidays never gets easier but she's empowered to provide support to people like Pam.

“Everything happens the way it's supposed to happen,” says LeCroy.

If you feel compelled to help others like Michelle has done, you don’t have to be a nurse to do it.

Anyone, from teens to adults, can volunteer to help at Hospice.

To volunteer at Hospice, click here.

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