Last month, when Catherine Swieter found out that Austin Flower Company was going to deliver fresh flowers to her every other week for the next six months, she said, "I asked for once a month for six months, but I’m not going to live that long."

She knew her time was fleeting.

Swieter, 65, died at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House early Friday morning. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease and kidney failure.

Swieter and her husband, Eric, were featured in the Statesman Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 families and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofit organizations. The Swieters were nominated by Hospice Austin. Donations still are being accepted for the 2019 program through Jan. 31.

"I told God I want to see Christmas one more time," Swieter said in October.

The community responded to the Swieters’ story and gave them a December full of memorable experiences and many of the things on their wish list. One of the big things they wanted was to go out to dinner or see a movie. They were able to turn gift certificates to the Alamo Drafthouse into a date night to see "Frozen 2."

"We laughed, we cried. It was really good," she said after seeing the movie.

Being part of Season for Caring gave Swieter a new outlook on people, she said in December. "You think there is no kindness left, but being in this program, I've seen a lot of kindness."

The Swieters fell in love in 1999 when they were both at a boarding house. She was getting sober from a heroin addiction. He was part of a research trial to test psychiatric medication after years of struggle.

"I knew I loved her before I met her," Eric Swieter, 46, said in October. He could tell by Catherine’s larger-than-life voice. "I knew she was the girl for me and that I was going to marry her one day."

Catherine Swieter described dying as "a trip" but knew it would mean having to leave Eric after 13 years of marriage: "That’s the hardest part, I think, of dying. I have to lose Eric."

Eric Swieter is planning a memorial in a few weeks for his wife, who donated her body to medical research. Austin Flower Company is donating an arrangement and a flower for each of the participants to place on a table filled with their photos.

Melinda Marble, communications coordinator at Hospice Austin, saw the difference that Season for Caring made. It "brought so much joy in the last two months of Catherine’s life," she said. "It eased her mind to know that Eric would be taken care of in the coming year, and she passed away knowing how much the community cares for both of them. What an amazing gift."

Eric Swieter has Social Security disability, but his income was reduced to about $70 a month when they got married, and most of their money was through Catherine’s Social Security. It will take a while to adjust his monthly Social Security payments. He will need help paying bills and needs Capital Metro bus passes. The other things left on the wish list were beginning music books for a piano and gift cards for clothing for Eric.

To help fulfill one of those wishes, contact Hospice Austin at 512-342-4700 or online at

Staff writer Mary Huber contributed to this report.