Seven months ago Joann and Clarence Branson made a tough decision. It was time to bring in hospice.
Joann said, "It is hard. I'll say it is probably the hardest thing I'll ever have to go through because you have to sit and just kind of wait. You just have to get it in your head that this is what God intended, you have to take it as that."
Clarence has a bone disease similar to leukemia. They have no idea how much time he has left, but they are facing reality.
Joann said, "I had a lady sit and talk to me about, and I wasn't prepared until she sat me down and told me about some things, and told me what to look for, I think I'm pretty well prepared."
That is part of Eula Sparks' job. She is a case supervisor who sits, talks, and guides families who are making tough decisions. She helps get matters in order, discusses wills, gives bereavement counseling, answers questions, almost anything you need to prepare.
Sparks said, "I've been doing this for about 15-years and there is always cases that touch you, that are very difficult. You know, you'll wonder 'did I say the right thing?, I hope I was there for them.'"
Like expected, the Bransons have faced some tough days.
Joann said, "His moods change. He is very stubborn about taking pills, he don't like pills. And those are our bad days. Probably the worst thing for him, is not being able to get out."
Clarence said, "Yeah, I like the outdoors."
Joann said, "And when he gets mad at me, he can't go out, he has to listen to me."
This a 24-hour job for Joann.
"I have the church, and they also get you a volunteer if you want to go somewhere, which is so nice," she said.
When you look at this couple, it is amazing that somehow, someway they always manage to keep their spirits up.
Clarence said, "Yesterday, I felt like a 10-year-old kid."
When you're married for 47-years, it is difficult to let go.
Clarence said, "I hate to say it, I'm 86, but my driver's license is good until I'm 90, so I'm going to use it up."