Brick, NJ -- Coping with the serious illness of a parent is a unique and personal experience. For Jeff Thelen, managing the emotions and challenges of being the primary caregiver for his mother, Rose Marie, who was battling stage 4 breast cancer, meant turning to music. “I have always been involved in music,” explains Mr. Thelen, a resident of Brick Township who plays the drums. “When I would begin to feel hopeless about my mother’s illness, I would write my feelings down in notes to myself on Post-It pads which I turned into a poem upon Mom’s passing.”
When Rose Marie passed away in 2006, she was being cared for in her Brick, NJ home by Mr. Thelen and health care professionals from Van Dyke Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Toms River, a Barnabas Health facility. “I will never forget the care and compassion Van Dyke Hospice showed my mom and our entire family,” says Mr. Thelen. “I can’t say enough about them. They are angels.”
After his mom’s passing, Mr. Thelen gathered the messages he had been writing throughout his mom’s illness and composed a poem titled, “How Sad My Love.” More than a year later, he received a phone call. He did not know the woman on the other line, but he recognized her words…it was “How Sad My Love,” but set to music.
“When I wrote the poem, I posted it on Facebook,” explains Mr. Thelen. “A friend saw it and shared it with a friend, Karen Barnes, a song writer and a Community Liaison for a hospice based in Pennsylvania. “When I received that phone call, I was in shock and absolutely overcome with emotion,” he adds.
As a singer in her church choir and a long-time song writer, Ms. Barnes felt drawn to the words in “How Sad My Love.” “When I read the poem I was inspired,” she says. “Rose Marie’s journey deserved a tribute.”
This past June “How Sad My Love” was recorded with Mr. Thelen playing drums and percussion, arranging the music and singing harmony in the chorus. Ms. Barnes, now a friend, sang the lead vocals and played guitar. Mr. Thelen is open to sharing the song for others to enjoy and recently sent a copy to Van Dyke Hospice to share with current patients and families.
For more information about Van Dyke Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Toms River, a Barnabas Health facility, please visit www.barnabashealthhospice.org or call 732-818-6800.
Date: January 11, 2012
Contact: Lisa Tortorello
Public Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org
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