Walking her mother home: “I’ve never seen this kind of care anywhere else”

March 26, 2024

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The story of Florence Geary’s life had many chapters. In some of the earlier ones, she helped her husband Walter on their farm, worked at a pharmaceutical instrument company in Spring Mills, and volunteered with the Potter Township Election Board. She loved to bake — she was famous for her Santa honey cut-out cookies and cherry winks that she gave to neighbors at Christmas time. One of her pastimes was spotlighting for deer in a red Jeep that she won in a raffle at the Hublersburg Carnival in 1968. 

There is another chapter, close to the end of the story (or rather, close to her next beginning) that has very special meaning to Valley View and her family. 

“I was with my mom when it became clear she was leaving us,” Brenda Geary says. “I was alone … but I was never really alone during my mom’s last few days. The staff on her floor kept coming in to care for her, and they cared for me, too. One of the caregivers, Hailey, would lean over and whisper, ‘I love you, Flo,’ before she left the room. There was just so much care. So much love.”

Florence took her last breath in the early evening, with Brenda and what Brenda calls her “extended family” — the team that gathered around both of them. When the funeral director arrived later that evening in the room, the nurses and aides requested permission to continue to care for Florence’s needs and even escorted her to the vehicle to say their final goodbyes. 

“When I spoke with the funeral director the following day she said, ‘In all of my years in this profession, I’ve never seen this kind of love and care anywhere, ever.’” Brenda said. “Their love for my mom was just so incredible.” 

Brenda says that Valley View was a gift to her and her mom over the last two years. “The sheer relief of being at Valley View was unbelievable.”

“I’m an only child,” she said. “And when she was at Valley View, it felt like I had siblings — brothers and sisters who said, ‘You can go to work, we’ll take care of Mom.’”

At her job at Penn State, Brenda says that she encounters many people who are in the same position that she was several years ago — caring for aging parents and struggling with finding the best place for them. 

“I share our Valley View experience every time that I can. People need to hear my mom’s story,” she said. “I tell people, you need to check out this place. It’s worth the drive. I’m so, so grateful that my mom was at Valley View.”