People will come to know that Vesta is everyone’s story!
by Sharon West, RN,BSN,MHS
Being a nurse has offered me many opportunities to observe the various dynamics displayed among family members of a person whose health is declining. Perhaps this one was the breadwinner of the family, whom everybody relied on. Perhaps that one was the matriarch – the woman who had answers for all of us. Was the illness sudden, or approaching as a slow-moving train?
Most individuals experiencing the new-found role of caregiver have had little or no time to consider their own personal health or needs without feeling guilty. And, naturally, each day of a caregiver’s service unfolds differently than the day before.
For those of us who have not experienced a loved one with declining health, what is our plan? Is there a thought that these situations only happen to others – surely not you? What if tomorrow a sudden illness strikes a loved one – are you the caregiver by default? Maybe no other family lives in the same town. Or, you are an only child. Maybe all your children are adults and live in different states – none of them can take time off from work to help you care for their ill father or mother.
There will be many decisions to be made, and many questions do be addressed. Do you have a plan? Who are the dependable family members, or friends that will be present when you need them? Does your faith community have resources to assist with caring for your loved one? What are the options within your community?
It is important to begin considering these difficult topics. I will admit that one of the most disheartening scenarios is when the family falls apart and become critical of each other; this is especially likely if the person needing care is the dominant or central figure of the family, now in need, but no longer able to contribute to such essential conversations.
On March 1- 3, 2013 and March 8-10, 2013 a play written by Bryan Harnetiaux entitled Vesta will be performed in Asheville. The play depicts the life of a woman, Vesta, who is ill. It is important to see and hear, and understand, the pain and struggles her family experiences with every decision – and to hear and see, and empathize with, the pain and struggles she herself undergoes.
Vesta is produced by Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective under the direction of Steph Hickling Beckman. It is cosponsored by the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), and Four Seasons Hospice in collaboration with the Hospice Foundation of America.
All performances are at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 20 Oak Street in downtown Asheville. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (Mar. 1, 2, 8, 9), and 3 p.m. on Sundays, March 3 & 10. Tickets are $5 each, and may be purchased through Eventbrite.com, or at the door.
Following each performance, there will be a discussion on how we can be prepared to make medical decisions when decisions are needed most. For more information, or if you have questions, please call ABIPA at