Making the most of the situation; Daughters set up outside assisted living to visit mom


PROCTOR, MN (KBJR)– Taking care of their sunshine, Jill Coleman and Amy Pocrnich have been visiting their mom Donna Gustafson while she’s in the fight of her life.

“They’re crazy sweethearts, they’ve been around for many, many years,” said Gustafson from her window.

Donna was recently hospitalized with COVID-19.

“She actually isn’t doing so well, so she opted for hospice. She does not want to do a ventilator or breathing tube, she does have COPD so,” said Amy Pocrnich, Gustafson’s youngest daughter.

Supporting mom’s wishes, Jill and Amy brought her home from the hospital back to Diamond Willow Assisted living facility in Proctor.

“She’s lived here for eight years, she really does want to stay,” said Pocrnich. “She loves the staff here at the residence.”

Jill and Amy aren’t able to visit like they used to due to safety precautions, but they came up with an idea.

“On day one we sat in lawn chairs with electric blankets over us. It was okay, that was on Tuesday, then on Wednesday there was a bit more of a wind,” said the eldest daughter Jill Coleman. “We both decided we’re going to need a bit more shelter if we’re going to be out here long term. So then was born the idea of the ice house.”

With some iPads, tables, and electric blankets Jill and Amy are working remotely from the tent and spending as much time with mom as possible.

While times are hard, they’re making the best of the situation.

“Obviously it’s not ideal that we’re sitting outside. But you’ve got to make the best of a bad situation,” said Coleman. “And if she’s in the hospital we wouldn’t have this quote-on-quote luxury of being in an ice house.”

Donna’s daughters will be hanging out in the little blue tent for as long as they can.

“Growing up my mom was always there for us, so this is our time to be there for her,” said Pocrnich.

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