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Hospice Not Once, but Twice

Today’s blog features writing from our colleague and friend Peggy Green, Thee Grief Specialist, author of Life After Child Loss: The Mother’s Survival Guide to cope and Find Joy.

I remember the journey my family traveled as my dad was dying. We spent a lot of time together. When he was weak and wanted to rest, my sister, brother, and I spent time talking with Mom. What was next? Was Dad in pain? Was he suffering?

I was confused when Mom told me Dad was entering hospice. I did not know what it meant. I had these visions of Dad leaving home to live the rest of his life lonely and isolated without his family. Instead, I was incredibly surprised when a team of kind caregivers showed up to tend to his pain, his needs, and our questions. They helped us know when it was “time”.

Seventeen years later, I found myself again working with hospice, this time on the behalf of Mom. I was pleased with this experience, even more so than with Dad.

When hospice was called in, they were extremely attentive to Mom and our family. The best advice we received was from Dr. Rob,  the medical director. He suggested as a family we make lasting memories.

Making a Memory

On a sunny February afternoon in Colorado, we had a picnic in the courtyard. Mom enjoyed one of her favorite meals, chicken, mashed potatoes, with gravy of course, a brownie for dessert and Coca-Cola to drink. We did not know it then, but it was to be her last. She was surrounded by family who came to say goodbye. We took pictures, laughed, and cried until she was drained.

She went to bed exhausted but happy. Within 36 hours of that memory making picnic, mom transitioned to the other side where she was met by Dad, her sisters, her daughter, and a grandchild. I am so grateful for Dr. Rob and his recommendation: Make memories every chance you get!

Editor’s note: Peggy Green makes it her mission to bring hope to mothers who are grieving the loss of a child and support to those who feel they can’t find hope for the future.  She provides both private and group grief coaching though her eight-week customized coaching program. Connect with Peggy at theegriefspecialist.com.

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