While we had these really great discussions about her wishes, we never took the time to write anything down. This is what fuels my desire today to see end of life discussions take place with my family and the community.
You never stop learning life lessons from your mom!
My mother was a no-nonsense, straight to the point type of gal. She took great pride in living a very simple, uncluttered and self-sufficient life. As her health began to fail, seeing that she could no longer care for herself, she was forced to leave her home and move across the country to live with me.
As mom’s health steadily declined, she made a point of regularly expressing to me that she did not want, under any circumstances, any extreme measures taken at the end of her life. Her sense of humor always intact, she would tell me when it comes to her cremation, to “just make sure she was good and dead before putting her in that oven!”
While we had these really great discussions about her wishes, we never took the time to write anything down. I think I truly believed she would pass peacefully in her sleep and I wouldn’t have to deal with the difficult process of completing the legal paperwork. The day my mother died, I received a phone call that she had suddenly collapsed and was being taken to the hospital. Once at the hospital, I was led to her room where physicians worked on her. I gasped in horror at what I saw happening to my precious mom’s frail body. Even though the ER staff stopped compressions immediately upon my request, the damage had been done.
I have complete peace that Mom did not suffer and was gone from this earth in an instant. I regret that we did not take that next step to formally make her wishes known. If we had, there would have been no question about the life sustaining measures taken that day. This is what fuels my desire today to see end of life discussions take place with my family and community.
I’m so grateful for the gift I was given in being my mom’s caregiver. Two months after she died I was given the opportunity to begin my work in the hospice industry. Every ounce of what I learned by caring for Mom prepared me for this amazing hospice experience.
Nieta began her work in hospice in 2009. She is currently the Administrative Assistant for Hospice of the West, wearing many different hats on any given day. She supports the clinical and administrative staff in their endeavors to bring compassion, grace and dignity to patients and families as they walk their end-of-life journey.