It’s Fun and It’s How We Keep Her Memory Alive The Joy Takes Over

By Ashley Stabolitis

I remember her initial diagnosis and the year that followed, filled with doctor’s visits, hospital stays and fear. The fear of losing her was overwhelming but she needed me to be her strength. She needed me to be her voice. She needed me to be her advocate. She needed me in ways I have never been needed before and it was, I thought, too much.

In her final days, the staff at Hospice & Palliative CareCenter helped ease my fear. Fear was replaced with peace in the knowledge that she was not suffering. With their help, I was able to become her daughter again. I no longer had to be the caregiver. I could just hold her in my arms and love her as she passed on.

The way they treated my mom at the end of her life touched me tremendously. Their capacity to love and care for a perfect stranger like my mother was a beautiful thing to witness. They are truly angels on earth.

The hole is always there – I miss my mom every single day – but I can now celebrate her life and I’m not sad all of the time.

One of the ways we celebrate my mom every year is by forming a team for the annual Hospice Hope Run. All of her grandchildren called her Mimi, and since her favorite color was purple and she loved butterflies, it seemed only natural to call our team “Mimi’s Purple Butterflies.” For me, the butterfly symbolizes her ability to break away, be free, and fly away from the pain she experienced.

Hospice & Palliative CareCenter helped her with this transformation. Their mission is to provide compassionate care and they certainly lived up to that mission with my family. I had no idea of the depth of their services before my mother’s passing. The care they provided helped her pass on with dignity and without suffering and they helped me to cope with the loss.

We miss her. Oh, how we miss her!

It’s been 7 years, and I still wish she could be here for all the little moments. My children were so young when she died, but I promised her that I would keep her memory alive. Participating in the Hospice Hope Run has been a way for me to fulfill that promise. I start preparing my Hope Run team at the first of the year so during that season she is in the forefront of all of our minds. We talk about her, we share our memories, and we have intentional conversations. It keeps her memory alive. But it also provides an opportunity to give back to an organization that helped her and that helped us.

By the time the Hope Run comes around in April, we find ourselves out on the course with so many others who have walked in our shoes. You can feel the hope. You can feel the joy. There may be tears in your eyes, but the joy takes over.

For more information about Hospice & Palliative CareCenter, visit or call 336-768-3972. To form, join or donate to a Hope Run team, visit


Annual Hospice Hope Run to continue with fun new twists!

The signature event for Hospice & Palliative CareCenter has a new name and location. The NEWHope Run & Picnic will take place April 14, 2018 in Bailey Park at Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem. Enjoy a 5K race down Research Parkway south to Old Salem’s historic cemetery, God’s Acre, followed by a picnic.

The new location at Bailey Park will be a perfect place for traditional picnic games, face painting, crafts and access to all park amenities. Most importantly, families will enjoy a fun-filled day in a family-oriented environment with their friends and their children following the Hope Run 5K.

Register at


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