When Mama’s doctor had mentioned hospice about two years before the dementia had been diagnosed, we hadn’t been ready and neither had Mama. Granted, we, my siblings and I, had already been caregivers for our mother who hadn’t been able to take care of herself for the previous three years. But we hadn’t been ready to call it quits.

At that time, what we’d known of hospice had mostly been bits and pieces because we hadn’t been interested in that option at the time. So we pretty much had held on to the negative image of it to dissuade us from even considering hospice.

In our minds, we’d thought of hospice as being some run down, dead end place where people go to die. We’d pictured it as dark, depressing, and lonely. And we certainly hadn’t wanted Mama to go to a place like that.

But when Mama had actually gotten neared the end of her life and had visibly withdrawn from us and life, we had become open to revisiting the idea of hospice. We, as her caregivers, had reached a point where we hadn’t been able to help her anymore. Her needs had grown greater than our abilities. And we’d all known it.

Mama’s doctor had told us that it was time and that he would arrange to get Mama into a hospice room if we had wanted it. We’d taken a little bit of time to consult with each other, to ask questions, and to talk to someone at an actual hospice facility. And the other aspect we’d had to account for had been the reality of knowing that by putting Mama in hospice, we’d basically given her permission to die.

We may not have wanted to see our mother leave this earth but it was happening whether we’d liked it or not. So, in her best interest, we’d agreed to put our mother in a hospice facility.

One of the first things we’d done had been to meet the staff who’d be caring for Mama. As it had turned out, they had been incredibly caring and kind. I had watched them talk to Mama in compassionate tones. They had been very empathetic and had done everything they had been able to do to make her as comfortable as possible.

They had also explained to us everting they’d be doing with Mama. They had taken her off of most of her medications and only allowed her to have a little bit of her insulin so that she wouldn’t go into a coma. She’d also remained on the blood pressure medicine to avoid possibly suffering a stroke. And finally, she’d been put on morphine for the pain.

When she had passed, we had all been there and had said our goodbyes. I remember how I hadn’t wanted to leave Mama’s side, even after she’d gone and the hospice nurse had touched my shoulder and promised me that she would wait with Mama until the mortuary came to take her away.

I had looked back on that decision many times over the years. For us, hospice had turned out to be an honorable option for Mama at the very end. However, understand that ultimately the idea of putting your loved one in hospice is a personal decision to be considered carefully between all involved.

Author's Bio: 

Frances is an author, vocalist, and speaker. She focuses on Latino traditions, music, and faith. She and her siblings had also been caregivers for her ailing mother; an experience she shares with others to let them know they are not alone. She has inspired people through sharing her mother's legacy and encourages others to share their family's legacies. Visit her website to sign up for inspirational messages, monthly newsletter, and updates at http://www.floraslegacy.net.