MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
August 5th, a little after 5 in the morning, the time Doris Duck passed away in her home near Dadeville.
"She was vibrant, very pretty and outgoing," Bobby Duck said of his wife.
Married for 47 years Bobby Duck says his wife died after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer's coupled with a series of strokes.
Doris took her final breath in the hospital bed in the couple's living room.
"I knew Doris was going to pass, no way around that but they made the latter days for Doris as good as they possibly could," said Mr. Duck.
'They' meaning Cindy Sims and fellow nurses who specialize in hospice care.
"It's a calling," said Sims.
'Hospice' comes from the root word hospitality. The concept goes back to the Middle Ages, a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers.
Fast-forward to 1967 when a physician started the first hospice care in London.
Bobby Duck will tell you Cindy Sims did so much more than provide hospitality in the end for the love of his life.
"Just the strength of her presence. The love they showed made a difference," said Duck.
Sims' greatest gift as a hospice nurse comes in the final days and hours for people like Doris Duck. It is a delicate process. There are emotions involved. Some fear death, others have questions. There's confusion about what's happening medically, and it's all on Cindy Sims to ease them through with grace and the provide the strength for the dying to let go.
"You can hold their hand and say 'it's okay.' They're grateful and they know the signs. It makes it a lot easier if you're not so afraid," said Sims.
Had she lived another 15 days, Doris Duck would have turned 83 but Bobby Duck wouldn't have it any other way. It was her time to go and Mr. Duck credits Sims for the making the end less painful.
"I honestly believe they're angels. They have such compassion," said Duck.
"I'm don't know if I'm an angel," Sims said laughing.
"I just love what I do," she added.
Angel or not Doris Duck didn't slip away alone and afraid. A peaceful death sealed with Cindy's compassionate touch.