I went and visited my hospice family today. Mind you, I only knew these people for a month. These are a few of the staff at Stoneleigh Hospice in Lansing. I didn't know how I'd feel going back to where I spent my last moments with Talia. I've been back a couple of times I think, but as you can see, despite on the one hand what that place represents for me, it also represents some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. Yes, this is their job, to care for those in their last days and it's the reality of their jobs, which right then and there should tell you how special these people are. But I really feel they go so far beyond that and they showed such love and compassion to not only Talia but me. I was there 23 hours a day for a month. That's a pretty concentrated time to spend with people. I wish I could have gotten a group photo of everyone that I spent time with there, but as I look at each individual here, in this photo, I can tell you very specific and special moments I had with each one as I can the rest not pictured, and for that, they will be my family forever. I'm sad that they couldn't see the real Talia (except for a few days as described below) . By the time we entered their residence, the tumor had spread to a part of Talia's brain that effected her personality. ( I didn't know this until about 5 minutes after checking in, then everything over the past two days made sense) Even the way that was presented to me was in such love. In a month there spending 23 hours every day, I only had 2 really bad hours which were dealt with immediately with such kindness, swiftness, and integrity. I would say, if that was all, I call that a miracle. These strangers at the time, were a group of individuals placed by God, to help guide me through what would be the most trying time of my life. Nothing can prepare you for the pain I went through. What I learned was these people were not just there for Talia, but they were there for me. I know Talia was thankful for all of them both in a short stay she had when I had to go to NYC for a few days and before the tumor had moved in her brain, and in our final month. I remember calling her from NYC and she was having so much fun. She said it was like she would imagine on a cruise ship, she had a personal chef that asked her what her favorites were, she had someone that was going to help with piano and liked sci-fi, there were Godly women who she could talk to, someone who gave massages, someone who was from AZ, that would sit with her when I was gone for an hour or two, someone who upon entering the room, would grab her hand and massage it while I was talking to the doctors, our home nurse before we entered the facility was such a blessing to Talia and Mia! LOL I could go on and on. These people are truly some of the most beautiful people I've ever met. Even today, the compassion and respect I received was beyond! They met Talia and I where we were at in life and loved us through! I'm sorry I had to meet these people and yet I'm forever grateful I did and consider them all family. Love you all so much and thank you for loving me through the hardest month of my life and showing Talia such love in her final days on this earth! May God truly bless all of you!
Max Colley III
Spirit Filled Jazz Musician