Palm Bay woman battles illness with positive attitude, inner strength

Hazeline Holder celebrates her 92nd birthday with her four children in June 2021.

Every day is a day of thanksgiving in the life of Hazeline Holder, for her strength, her kindness and her community spirit. This Thanksgiving, however, her family is especially grateful for her indomitable spirit and miraculous recovery.

After a long illness in the spring, Holder, who lives in Palm Bay, was discharged from the hospital to home hospice. Due to injuries from a fall, she was readmitted to the hospital and subsequently discharged to a rehabilitation facility. In June, less than a week after she celebrated her 92nd birthday, she was discharged to her home where she continues to improve.

Holder’s family recognizes that their family matriarch’s survival was due to a confluence of factors: excellent medical care; health insurance and Medicare; genes; personal care provided by family, lifestyle, prayers and well wishes from friends and her church family.

Worth noting is the family’s close contact with medical staff. “Without the family speaking up and advocating for her care at varying times, the outcome may have been different,” said her daughter Cheryl L. Holder, a physician and professor in South Florida.

Although Holder has Alzheimer’s Disease and is generally alert and extraordinarily verbal, she is unable to articulate her gratitude. She does, however, express her appreciation for life each day with a positive attitude, a pleasant demeanor and a sincere admiration for nature.

Each morning upon waking, she opens the blinds by her bed and looks out. She comments on the weather, but only after she admires the flowers in the container garden outside her window. After breakfast, she usually walks in the garden, and each time she pauses to caress a red cosmos flower. “Beautiful,” she says.

She sang in her church choir and a community choir for a number of years. She’ll often say she doesn’t remember the words, but as the music of hymns that she sang in church starts playing and the first words are sung, she joyfully joins in. “I love all music,” she says.

At bedtime each night, she thanks her caregiver for taking care of her as she does throughout the day, but at bedtime, her praise is most profound for her caregiver and for her God.

The family is grateful for Palm Bay Hospital, Opis Indian River Center and Covenant Church in Palm Bay.

Editor’s note: The writer, Jennifer H. Monaghan, is the daughter of Hazeline Holder.