Hospice Heroes: Czeeslawa Kozak

This is the third story in our series. The Evening Sun and Hospice invites you to spend some time getting to know another one of the special people Hospice cared for. This week’s story comes from Pitcher, while other patients live in Oxford, Norwich, Mount Upton, and South New Berlin. Each has been able to fulfill their wish to stay at home where they’re most comfortable because of the services Hospice provides. While their lives were lived in very different ways, their right to a dignified and comfortable end of life journey is very much the same.

Hospice hopes that these patient stories will move you to support the “Friends of Hospice Campaign.” The funds raised are used to fill the 20% gap between reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies, and the actual cost of daily patient care.

Hospice’s Annual Dinner, Silent Auction, and Hospice Hero Induction will take place on Thursday, October 21 in Norwich. It’s an evening designed for fun, fundraising, and honoring those who exemplify the Hospice Spirit. Secure your reservations by Friday, October 15 by calling the Hospice office at 334-3556 or post a donation at www.hospicechenango.com.

Czeeslawa Kozak from Pitcher

Imagine living in Poland when War II breaks out. As the conflict rages on, you become a German P.O.W. and are shipped from your homeland to a German work camp. The war ends, and not wanting to return to your decimated country, you anxiously await a foreign sponsor who will help you begin a new life in another foreign land.

There’s no need for Czeeslawa Kozak to imagine this scenario because it’s part of her life story. In 1951 a U.S. sponsor brought Czeeslawa, her husband, and five year old daughter Krystyna to Cortland, New York.

The Kozak family assimilated into the U.S. culture. Mr. Kozak became a welder, Czeeslawa worked as a housekeeper, and later in the Smith Corona factory. Their life was simple, yet happy, and they socialized often with other expatriated Poles. Krystyna went through public school and became the most fluid English speaker in the family, often translating for her mother who struggled with the language.

Czeeslawa came to love her life in America. She was especially proud to be a homeowner, and lovingly tended her flower beds. After years of little food and constant hunger in Europe she relished cooking for her family and others. “My mother would never let anyone leave our house without a tin of food,” says Crystyna. “She forced food on people, because she never wanted to see another hungry person in her lifetime.

Today Czeeslawa lives with her only child and son-in-law in Pitcher. She spends part of each summer day sitting on the front porch enjoying the bucolic Chenango County scenery. It’s a peaceful life following a tumultuous youth, and a more settled and satisfying mid-life.

Now Hospice will help Czeeslawa as her long earth journey comes to a close. “We are so grateful for Hospice,” says Krystyna, who admits she knew absolutely nothing about the agency until a Doctor gave her our phone number. “What I’ve learned over the past few months is that you’re all so relaxed, non-judgmental, and comforting. I know we can get through this with you by our side.”

Today's Other Stories

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