Our family has seen a lot of death. My father when I was 16, two of my sisters before age 40, multiple aunts, uncles, cousins, Mom’s second husband, and several pets.
For years, Mom and I talked about what she wanted at end of life. I was her Power of Attorney for both health care and business matters.
She was very clear about how it needed to be and her desire included Hospice.
Just slightly over 2 weeks ago, it was clear to me that it was time. In the weeks leading up to this, she had made several statements to the staff at the assisted living facility that she was tired. Though she spoke of having Mincemeat Pie for Thanksgiving desert, her future talk went no further.
She was losing weight and her desire to live when she suffered what appeared to be her 2nd compression fracture (she wanted no X-rays, no hospitals). Clearly she was in a lot of pain and had resisted using what she called “dope”.
When I suggested it was time to call Hospice, her only concern was that she would have to leave her apartment (which she did not have to).
Hospice arrived the next day and felt that Mom probably had a few more weeks. However, Mom had other plans and less than 24 hours later, she slipped away very peacefully and comfortably.
Calling in hospice, as we had previously talked about, gave her the permission to let go when she was ready. I’m not sure what she was holding on for, but I believe even the idea that I would call Hospice let her know, that I “knew” and it would be okay.
If you have not talked with your family members about end of life issues do so now. It’s the best gift a family can give one another…the assurance that you will be able to follow through with end of life wishes.