We call those who are served by the Respite ”clients” for several reasons – it connotates respect and self-worth, helps to maintain professionalism, and it’s accurate, if somewhat formal.
One of our clients passed away yesterday morning, and calling him a client already seems wrong. Mr. W was a friend as well as a person who came to the Respite to recover. Despite the severity of his illness he was always in good spirits, always polite. In fact, he was cheerful to the point that his death took some of us by surprise.
After becoming ill one afternoon, he took a cab to the emergency room, telling his friends on the way out to help themselves to his cigarettes; he knew he wasn’t coming back.
Although we know that everyone served by the Respite is ill, we are never truly prepared to lose them. Rest in peace, Mr. W. We miss you.