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Family Visits

Family Visits

Posted on March 29, 2012

Family gatherings were always important to Audrey "Tootsie" Engroff. When her home was Vermont Respite House, she was the center of some of the most intimate get-togethers she had ever hosted. Frequent visits from family and friends, including her daughter and son, their spouses and her four darling grandchildren, offered the opportunity for typical family fun and heartfelt conversations.

"It is wonderful to hear the chatter and laughter of children in the hallways of Respite House," said Tootsie. "There is something so comforting in that sound."

Christened Tootsie prior to the birth of her first grandchild, the whimsical nickname suited this spirited and charming lady. Tootsie faced the end of her life with the same clear-eyed determination and wry humor she had always possessed. As a VNA hospice nurse in the Champlain Islands in the 1990s, she was well aware of how the services of Vermont Respite House could help people
who were dying, as well as their loved ones. So, Tootsie considered it both ironic and a blessing that she  spent her final days at Respite House surrounded by those most special to her.

A visit from two of Tootsie's three sisters felt like a reunion that might have taken place on the front porch of their childhood home. Laughter and teasing banter far outweighed sadness and melancholy. Enjoying their time together in Tootsie's cozy room, the sisters reminisced about growing up together and the twists and turns their lives had taken as adults.

"We are so lucky to have this precious time together," said Tootsie. "Vermont Respite House has been a Godsend for me."

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