Team Livingston: Barbara Lewis
After the death of her partner Billy, Barbara Lewis sold her house, packed her belongings and moved from San Diego to Ventura.
A chance encounter at Pierpont Beach in Ventura introduced Barbara to Bill Moseley, a charming, charismatic man with an infectious laugh, a guitar and his traveling Chihuahua companion, JoJo. Barbara describes Bill as "a Cajun Leprechaun." Bill had endured many of the same life struggles as her partner Billy, and this gave Barbara an almost instant connection to the man. She did not see him as just one of the vast army of homeless people; although homeless he was at the time. She simply saw him as someone with whom to enjoy the mutual give and take of friendship.
For six years Barbara and Bill were Team Moseley. She shopped and ran his errands and they enjoyed outings to the Ventura Pier, Neptune's Net, and combing yard sales and thrift shops for treasures.
Although Bill was reluctant to seek medical attention, Barb convinced him to let the VA do a chest x-ray where a dark spot was found on his lung. The doctors thought the spot might be a reemergence of TB. With no appetite, and constant pain keeping him from sleep, Bill felt helpless and cried out daily, "What went wrong? How did I end up like this?” Barbara recalls, "He asked me to call Livingston.”
Barbara trusted Livingston Hospice; their bereavement services had helped her find healing, friendship, and community after the death of her partner. Now Team Moseley joined forces with Team Livingston to help Bill through his final days. Barbara moved into the trailer Bill now called home as his caregiver.
Just one week later a Livingston Home Health Aide bathed a comatose Bill; washed his hair, changed his gown and linens and made him ready for his last journey. Barbara sat with Bill and reminded him that his friends had said goodbye, his dog was safe, and that it was okay to let go now. "I thanked him for loving me, told him that I loved him and that he'd gotten his wish to die at home," remembers Barbara. She turned to shut the screen door and in that moment Bill Moseley headed on down the road.
Livingston’s Volunteer Coordinator, Maddy Hazard, says that Barbara took the natural progression of taking advantage of Livingston’s bereavement services, to volunteering, to joining our staff. Currently Barbara plays an integral role in the clerical support of the Livingston bereavement team and our annual Light Up A Life celebration.