Daughter wishes Happy Birthday to dad in hospice care outside his window

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

GRANDVILLE, MI – Eugene Van Dyken’s family had been thinking about his 88th birthday long before coronavirus COVID-19 but gathering for a celebration with hugs and kisses was not an option due to the pandemic.

So, his daughter Amy Brouwer, her husband and three children decided to bring the party to the hospice patient — from a safe distance outside his window at Brookcrest Rehab and Life Center.

On Thursday, April 16, they song happy birthday, shared their love for him and watched as he opened gifts delivered by nurses.

“We didn’t know how long my dad would be around,” said Brouwer, noting his strokes back-to-back almost two years ago. “Every day that we see him, that we can be with him, is a special day.”

With the elderly and those with underlying health conditions more at risk for contracting the highly contagious respiratory disease, nursing homes and hospice facilities, including Van Dyken’s, have restricted visitors to protect patients.

Brouwer said not having the intimate contact that the family usually has with her father has been difficult.

“When we come to visit him, his face just lights up,” she said.

“When you are pressing your hands up against the glass, you know, and you’re blowing kisses, it is difficult. We certainly can’t wait to get back to when we can come in and give him a hug and love on him.’’

Hospice patient Eugene Van Dyken opens gifts on the other side of a window as family members celebrate his 88th birthday at Brookcrest Rehab and Life Center in Grandville on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Also pictured is recreational therapist, Christie Vander Meer. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Sienna Brouwer, 13, holds a Happy Birthday sign while her family visits her grandfather Eugene Van Dyken who is a hospice patient celebrating his 88th birthday at Brookcrest Rehab and Life Center in Grandville on Thursday, April 16, 2020. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Sienna Brouwer, 13, holds a Happy Birthday sign while her family visits her grandfather Eugene Van Dyken who is a hospice patient celebrating his 88th birthday at Brookcrest Rehab and Life Center in Grandville on Thursday, April 16, 2020. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Read the rest of the story here. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *