Hospice volunteer cares for own son through final days

For mothers, one of the worst things that can happen in life is to outlive their children and that's the case for Estelle Weiss—who last weekend suddenly lost her son Johnny to an aggressive form of lung cancer.

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 9:02 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)— For mothers, one of the worst things that can happen in life is to outlive their children and that's the case for Estelle Weiss—who last weekend suddenly lost her son Johnny to an aggressive form of lung cancer. 

"He's a maintenance man, he's a painter, he's artistic, a great cook," Weiss said. "He would stand and chop vegetables. When he served you his meal, it wasn't just filliing a plate and putting it down, he served it with style and gentleness."

Weiss has been a longtime volunteer with Mosaic Life Care's Home Care Services. In that role, she's seen a lot of suffering and people in pain, but this time it was her son—who was the patient and she was his caregiver. 

"He'd come in and lay beside me and hold my hand all night," Weiss said. "I'd say I love you sweethard and he'd say I love you mom."

The cancer attacked Johnny fast. He died only two months after being diagnosed and with his mother beside him the whole time. 

"Had it not been for hospice and Hands of Hope Hospice, and Sister, I wouldn't have known any of this care and tenderness," Weiss said.

"Losing a child is the hardest thing to cope with," Sister Barbara Conway said. "She's doing that with some pain but very peacefully knowing he's with heaven and God."

And it's Weiss' spirituality that is keeping her strong. She will now focus on caring for other familites, who are going through the same process. 

"God is so good," Weiss said. "Whatever journey you're on or problem you're in, he'll find a way out for you."

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