My husband, Michael arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on June 11 with the best of intentions for rehab and recovery. The Vineyard became our second home many years ago and like others before us, our plan was to heal on the Island for the summer. However, it soon became evident the breast cancer Michael was battling for 11 years had different plans, and a traditional recovery was not to be.

His stay was more often difficult for our family, filled with complications and side effects, adverse reactions to treatments, and hence the care he needed became medically complex and sophisticated on many levels. The list of physical, emotional and spiritual needs was exhaustive and yet this small Island hospital delivered the most nurturing and compassionate dose of high-quality medical care to Michael, and to our entire family.

And our family is quite the group. It includes four daughters, our youngest, Grace, still only 11 years old, a son in law, an energetic 18-month-old grandson who loved to run the halls, and an extended group of family and friends, all very tired and sad from our long walk with cancer. Caring for all of us takes a special group of people.

From the beginning it was apparent we were in extraordinary hands. It began with coordinating the admission and transfer from Boston, and during our stay, delivering the multitude of services Michael needed on a daily basis: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, visits to the infusion center and a brief stay in the intensive care unit. The process included the most comprehensive and optimal care delivered with pure human compassion.

And when it was time to navigate our journey home to Connecticut, the staff synchronized the trip and continued to provide friendship and support, calling and checking in on our family and sending well wishes from the Island. Michael died only five days after we returned home, and those days will remain some of the most difficult times of our life. And although our hearts ache because a cure was not available, until then we find comfort in being part of a place that reflects medicine at its best — a system where love and compassion merge with science and create a humane experience when people need it most.

Thank you Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for taking care of my family when we needed it most.

Marci Moreau