Such a Blessing

I was introduced to the gift of hospice long before I ever started working in the hospice field. Sadly, both my grandmother and my mother-in-law were diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer around the same time in 2009 and both eventually made the choice to seek hospice care. My mother-in-law was in her 50’s and did not relish the idea of spending the last weeks of her life in a hospital. Hospice allowed her the dignity and grace of surrounding herself with close family in the comfort of her own home, as well as affording her easy access to her favorite things – her garden, her horses, even her favorite TV shows. Similarly with my grandmother’s aggressive illness, she did not feel compelled to surround herself with the cold, white walls of a hospital room during her final days. I distinctly remember being at home with her on one of those days and her turning to my grandfather and saying, “Thank you for an amazing life.” I could see that sharing those final moments in the home that she had shared with him for so many years was such a blessing to both of them. Facing the reality of a terminal illness is a heartbreaking experience no matter what the circumstances, but good hospice care can make it more liberating and dignified.

Sean O’Malley

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