On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, Holly Miller died peacefully at the McClure Miller Respite House, the hospice residence she helped make possible and that bears her family name. Over these last few weeks, UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice was given the honor of caring for her, first in her home by our Community Hospice team and then at Respite House. This was a particularly special opportunity, to care for the care-er, a person who lived her life in service to others.
Holly was many things to us – an advocate for palliative and hospice care, a hospice volunteer, a community leader, supporter and champion, a friend, and a beautiful soul. For employees and volunteers of Home Health & Hospice, it is hard not to experience the impact she made on our agency. The building that houses our administrative offices on Prim Road, a gift from her and her husband Bobby, is named for Holly. At the ribbon cutting, Bobby surprised Holly by having only her name on our building. When asked why, Bobby said, “This is Holly’s. She worked harder than anybody on it.” Yet, it is not buildings that mark her legacy, but rather her passion, her dedication, and her life’s work.
“I’ll show you how,” she wrote in her story retelling her father’s words when he decided that he would die at home. Palliative and hospice care then became a passion for Holly and thus helped to form the foundation of our relationship with her. She was tireless in her pursuit of growing the awareness, the availability, and the use of end-of-life care and Holly never backed down from a challenge. She was a leader, an educator, and a force for changing our cultural perception of death and dying in Vermont because she believed that every person has a right to a good death, to die with dignity.
As Holly challenged others to demonstrate their own civic spirit, there was often a sparkle in her eye and a mischievous smile when she reminded people that the generosity of friends and neighbors was key for helping other people learn how to give.
Through our commitment to our mission and our work in delivering comprehensive and compassionate care for all, we honor Holly’s spirit and passion. That is her legacy.