"There is a day to be born and there is a day to die, but you have a choice in the manner in which you leave this life."
Talking about death in my family has never been taboo. As an adolescent I remember many times my Grandfather would do something silly to get a laugh and he would say, “there is a day to be born and there is a day to die and these are the things you will remember after I die.” He couldn’t have been more right. When I was 22 years old my grandfather had an accident that resulted in a brain injury that ultimately ended his life. As goofy as my grandfather was, he was a planner and there was not one decision for any of his family to make. He knew that he didn’t want any heroics if he didn’t wake from surgery, he had his mortuary plans in place and he made sure my grandmother knew all of this. My grandfather gave all of us the gift of being able to share the stories that made us all laugh instead of having to decide what to do next. His passing was my first experience with Hospice. Fast forward 8 years and I found myself beginning my Hospice career. In those eight years I had never thought about advanced directives or why they were so important. Once I started working in hospice I realized the importance and the gift my grandfather had given his family. He was right, there is a day to be born and there is a day to die, but you have a choice in the manner in which you leave this life.
Audra is currently the Hospice Aide Coordinator for Hospice of the West. She began her hospice career as a CNA in 2010, earning her CHPNA in 2016. Being a single mother to three children, Audra has her advance directives in place and has made it her mission to share the importance of having directives in place to all families, especially young families.