Hospice: Preparing for the Beginning of the End

March 17, 2021

They’ve called in hospice, I read her message through immediate tears. Now my prayers will be fiercely transformed from healing to honoring love and the final moments of a delicate life. It’s a harsh change to make, but one that is necessary. 

Hospice means the beginning of the end, the final days and the final moments. I know those days. They are engraved into my mind as intensely as the day I got married or the moments my children were born. 

I’m paralyzed by the reminder of the significance of this change. I remember the sting, the fragility, and the ache when hospice became the next step and the recommended path to take. 

This process is one of the harshest there is. You are forced to soak up and savor the remaining moments, not knowing if they are days, minutes, or seconds. You are in a delicate blend of loving your person fiercely and praying with an urgency like you’ve never known, all while trying to remember how to breathe and secretly demanding a miracle. 

It’s difficult to prepare for something you can’t comprehend. Remembering the final week and the final days is exhausting. Knowing someone you love and admire is entering those final weeks, days, and moments is agonizing. 

I sit here powerless to her journey and her path. Knowing the pain they are about to endure and the impact of a final goodbye fills me fiercely with empathy, love, and experienced understanding. 

I don’t want her to understand the pain I hold in my heart. I don’t want her to understand the transformative nature of grief and loss. I don’t want her to understand the way your heart crushes, your soul shatters, and your entire world turns upside down. I don’t want her to know, feel, or experience the loss of a mother. 

Even as time eludes us, I pray. 

I pray for a miracle. I pray that if a miracle cannot come that this family is surrounded with the most powerful grace, comfort, love and support the world has to offer. I pray that when the time comes, and death arrives, they feel the presence of the very soul that left this earth. I pray they lean on each other and always carry hope. I pray they know the reason it hurts so much is because they were loved so beautifully. 

I pray and pray and pray, wishing I had powers to eliminate their pain and erase the heartbreak that is to come. As I’m hopelessly lost in the reality of the upcoming destruction of grief, I’m reminded of it’s beauty too. I’m proof that grief can steal pieces of your heart, soul, and future and you can come out still holding faith, love, and a priceless legacy. I’m proof that while grief changes a relationship, it doesn’t end them. My mother is gone but I still find ways to connect with her. I still find unique and delicate ways to keep our relationship alive. And while I’d do anything to have her back, I’m  learning to live with her in my heart and mind, rather than my future. 

The beginning of the end, the final days and moments, the ones that change your entire life. The days that transform your prayers as much as the composition of your heart and soul. These final days are powerful. Empower them with great and final acts of love and the gratitude that you feel for experiencing such a unique and cherished relationship. 

I read her text through tears and immediately shifted my prayers as quickly as her world is about to change. No matter what, I am here. However she needs me, I am here, for I know what is about to come, a new before and after of a mother living and a mother gone.

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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