Dear Friends,

As I write my final newsletter as the Program Director of Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket, I’m reminded of all the wonderful years I’ve had serving in this role, and all of the truly amazing people I’ve met throughout this time. All of our patients and families have touched my life in ways they’d never imagine. Though I was there to help them, what I’ve received from them was even more profound. While my role was to offer them comfort and support along their often very painful journeys, I learned so much from them. I learned how people can come face to face with intense sadness and despair, yet persevere and grow strong again, even when death is the outcome. I learned that the human spirit is so much more resilient than we ever imagined; that even in the face of tremendous adversity, we can adapt, and cope, and heal. I’ve also learned that all people are good and loving and caring, even when they do things that hide those qualities. And that we still have a caring and generous community, even amidst all the growth and changes; a community of people who are always there for each other, who rally around those in need, and who share their love and their resources to help those in need carry on. It has been a privilege for me to be allowed into the lives of patients and families we’ve served during these very intimate moments and I’m deeply grateful.

Leaving would be much more difficult if I hadn’t found an exceptional person to assume this role as my successor. Many of you may remember Dianne Pitman, a nurse practitioner who worked in Dr. Tim Lepore’s practice for several years until she left about ten years ago to marry and live in Virginia. Now she’s Dianne Bein and, for the past 8 years, has worked for Blue Ridge Hospice, a large hospice in Virginia. I’d heard over the years from Tim that Dianne has always loved Nantucket and hoped to return, so, last fall, when I considered that I might like to retire from this position this year, I asked her whether she’d be interested in returning and was delighted to hear that she was. We’ve had Dianne working with us now since June, so that we might have a very smooth transition, and she’s brought her excellent skills and loving presence to all our patients. I’ll be stepping down by the end of October, but am not leaving the island, so will be able to answer any questions that might arise. Meanwhile, I am confident that the program will be in excellent hands. We are so fortunate to have someone with Dianne’s skills, compassion, and love for the island take on this position!

With deepest regard,

Charlene Thurston

Funded by the Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket Foundation, the Palliative & Supportive Care Program is operated as a department of the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of Partners HealthCare. Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket is a specialized health care program dedicated to providing excellent physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care to persons with life-threatening illness and their families.

A Partnership in Caring

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