This is a note of thanks to Dr. John Abel, Dr. Curtis Foy, Dr. Flavio Kruter and the compassionate hands of hospice nurses and staff who offer so many forms of hope and, when necessary, have the courage to tell patients, “Go home.”

Home might be with a spouse, a daughter, a son, or into the arms of good friends or even a loving god – but it’s a place free from needle pricks, new drugs, new trials, and transplants.

These outstanding doctors remain keenly aware of what science has to offer and bring it all to their patients to help them heal. In fact, many times Abel, Foy and Kruter help patients rise to a cure. But what distinguishes them from so many other doctors is their ability to know and love patients so well that when the needle pricks, the new drugs, new trials, transplants and hospital stays cannot make things better, their patients trust their advice and go home.

There is no better gift.

Dr. Curtis Foy is the doctor who had the courage to tell my father that there wasn’t a point in waiting for a kidney transplant. Too many other vital organs were too tired to welcome anything new. The two men wept during that meeting; my father’s tears were tears of relief.

There is no better gift.

Dr. John Abel recently assured my mother-in-law, Pearl, that she could go back to the hospital and she would feel better for a little while, but he believed that her body was telling us it was time to call hospice.

There is no better gift.

As Dr. Flavio Kruter helps my friends through their various stages of cancer, I know he has the courage to let them know if they will go home cancer free or if that hope has to fade.

This is no better gift.

Truth, whether it is that we will live longer or that we will die sooner than we expect, is incredibly empowering at a time when patients and their loved ones feel powerless.

Truth offers a sense of control, especially over how we will spend our time.

During that time there are often more moments of clarity, more moments of joy, more opportunities to forgive and be forgiven. There is more room for grace.

There is no better gift.

In his breathtaking memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, Dr. Paul Kalanithi writes, “The physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence.”

I will remain thankful to these doctors and all others who have the courage to help their patients stand back up and make sense of their existence as they rise to a cure and even as they die.

There is no better gift.

Lisa Moody Breslin