Category Archives: family of the dying

WE’RE NOT THAT KIND OF FAMILY

November is national hospice month…an opportunity to honor all the patients, families and cohorts throughout the years. Over the years, I have been truly privileged to work with amazing families, of all kinds, as they walked through the loss of … Continue reading

Posted in end of life care, family of the dying | 5 Comments

THE LAST DOSE

It’s been nearly 30 years since the evening as a fairly new nurse I had been assigned to the oncology floor. I still remember my patient (a young woman in her mid thirties with advanced ovarian cancer) the mother of … Continue reading

Posted in end of life care, family of the dying, hospice, hospice story | 3 Comments

AN ODE TO MY MOTHER

Some of my family still mention, when reminiscing about my mother, that she was “out of touch” with reality.  My mom had a mental breakdown in her early thirties, (during the 50’s when a lot of women lived in a … Continue reading

Posted in daughter, end of life care, family of the dying, wisdom | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

WHAT AN OVERCOMER LOOKS LIKE

Ettie never told me that “My mission in life is not merely to survive; but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”  (Maya Angelou).  But she had lived this… She thrived. … Continue reading

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THE HEART OF HOME

A hospice nurse travels into many abodes.  So often these homes speak of dreams and accomplishments, or regrets and failures, but they always seem to frame a part of the owner’s story.  Like Cathy’s final work of art, her dream … Continue reading

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NOT “JUST THE DAUGHTER”

A whiff of lavender can still transport me to the bedside of my dying mother. In the early morning hours, Mom began breathing in shallow gasps, with periods of apnea. Several hours had passed since she had responded to any … Continue reading

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HELLIDAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!

“Did you survive the holidays?” I was asked at work, and was immediately struck by the absurdity of the question. I’m not the hospice patient, after all, and I was expected to survive the month of festivities. But I was … Continue reading

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DYING WITH YOUR BOOTS ON

Something I love about my job as a hospice nurse: there are many opportunities to be surprised.  One of my daily mantras is “expect the unexpected”.  As I drove down a switch-back gravel drive in the middle of nowhere, I … Continue reading

Posted in family of the dying, living | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A FAIRY TALE?

Once upon a time there was a man who lived with his two daughters in a lonely clearing in the woods.  They had moved in and cared for many of the things that their mother had always done, after she died and … Continue reading

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GIFTS OF LOVE

Before setting out on my lengthy road trip to an outlying area of the county, I had received the warning that the spouse was a“curmudgeon”.  He had been overly harsh and grumpy with the staff that only yesterday had him signing forms … Continue reading

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