Through the Eyes of a Hospice Nurse

Hospice is a philosophy of care that focuses on the whole person.

Fall Image

Fall is my favorite season. I associate it with comfort, peace, and beauty. To me, one of the best parts of fall is watching the leaves change to different hues of green, yellow, orange, red, and brown—eventually falling from the trees to rest on the ground. As humans, we are in many ways like the leaves of fall. We are a part of something bigger; as we grow, our lives change like the colors of the leaves.

Death and dying are not often thought of as being comfortable, peaceful, or beautiful. There are many difficult emotions, many questions, much necessary planning and care. Having the support of others can make a world of difference for patients and families in this time; this is where hospice can step in.

Hospice is a philosophy of care that focuses on the whole person. Those with a terminal diagnosis of 6 months or less to live are provided with physical, emotional, social, and spiritual support. Families and loved ones are provided with caring, competent staff to help navigate the difficult time of preparing for and dealing with the loss of one they love.

I am a hospice nurse. I have cared for the dying, comforted grieving family members, and been exposed to more death than I ever thought I would be. I have been able to walk with others as they discover their connection to the bigger picture, to be with them as they fall to rest for the final time, like the leaves of fall. I have seen the support of others and shared experiences bring a connection to comfort, peace, and beauty beyond comparison. I am so grateful for the many gifts that hospice has given me, and I sincerely hope that those who need it are able to take advantage of the support that hospice can offer.

If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, I encourage you to reach out for help, work toward healing, and take advantage of support offered in your community. Allow yourself to experience the comfort, peace, and beauty offered. Help is out there!

There are many different types of support groups related to loss and the grieving process. These groups can provide a safe place to share stories, hear from those with similar experiences, build new supportive relationships, and grow through the challenge of losing a loved one. Groups are available in many different types of community settings. Search for grief and loss support groups in your area here and remember you don’t have to do this alone.