Got a little question for you, Hospice nurses!

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    Hello, Hospice nurses! I wondered if you might share some information with me.

    A lady who is very dear to me is on hospice care right now. She has pancreatic cancer and the doctors give her about 30 days. She is about 200 miles from where I am, so I can't pop over and pay a visit, and she doesn't really want any visitors--She's too tired to receive them, and she doesn't want all of us, who love her so much, to see her in the state she's in. She is extremely religious, and she has already donated all her belongings to my children's school (where she taught until now) to be sold.

    Here's my question: What do you recommend, as far as sending her something to let her know we love her and are thinking about her? I mailed a big envelope with drawings my kids have done for her, a card, and a few pictures. Somehow, it doesn't feel like enough, but I want to avoid being "selfish" and sending things just to make ME feel better. Does that make sense?

    Are flowers appropriate? I just don't want to send anything that would be more trouble than it's worth, but I do want her to know we care.

    Suggestions?
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    If you really want to give something to her, go visit her. I have found that the ONLY true item my Hospice patients need and want (other than pain meds!) is LOVE! Dying alone is lonely, and inhumane. Bless her with your companionship.
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    I think you should respect her wishes to not have visitors. I think sending things in the mail is very nice and I think she would appreciate some flowers too. Let her know that if she ever changes her mind about getting visitors that you would love to see her. Not everybody wants visitors when they are dying. I wish you the best of luck.
  5. 1
    Thank you for your responses.

    This very special lady is a nun, and she is in a special hospice house surrounded by her sisters. She is definitely not dying alone and lonely.

    She was a teacher at our kids' school, and she was/is a very happy and upbeat person. She has the neatest, craziest, zaniest sense of humor you've ever seen! She doesn't want 1) her "babies" to see her in the state she's in, and 2) the parents and fellow teachers who love her so much to remember her as she is right now.

    I understand her wishes, and I want to respect them. I think I'll send flowers tomorrow. And each week until she passes.

    Thank you again for your responses. Please pray for her. And for us, those of us who will be left to mourn her loss.
    teach_hospiceRN likes this.
  6. 4
    She sounds like an amazing lady. I am sure flowers will be appreciated. She also might enjoy a story about what she meant to you in your life and your families life. Sometimes a letter or story can deliver the message of importance just as if you were there in person. Also 30 days is just an estimate so the earlier the better I always say. Take care
  7. 4
    aggie, you also may want to consider writing her a 'love letter'...a letter expressing how she has impacted your life, your children's lives, what makes her so precious to you, etc.

    we all need validation in our lives, but even more so, when our lives on earth are coming to an end.
    give her the gift of your heart and appreciation.

    leslie
    teach_hospiceRN, tewdles, volsfan, and 1 other like this.
  8. 3
    I've written her a letter--Mailed it yesterday. It's hard not to feel helpless, or like what you're doing is not enough, especially when the person is so special to you.

    My daughter (just turned 8) made her a card that said, "You are everything good." It's amazing how children are so insightful and such good judges of character sometimes!

    Thanks, again, for the responses, and God bless hospice nurses! (I'm a nursing student, and I just don't see how you do it...But I'm sure glad you do!)
    blackIrish, Blackcat99, and leslie :-D like this.
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    I agree with the above responses: flowers are to be enjoyed by the living: send them now instead of putting them on her grave; cards and love letters are wonderful!
    on the visit part i would like to add: this society is strange - we want to be strong, not show our weakness or decline and thus rather not have visitors when we don't look the part;
    if you feel you want to tell her in person one more time how much this lady means to all of you: go do it and tell her: she does not have to use her energy reserves to talk, but you wanted to share one last visit, to hold her hand, to tell her she is still just as beautiful as she always was, because the outer shell does not matter;
    we tend to avoid talking death and dying all through life, yet the older we get the more funerals we attend.... if your heart tells you to go see her do so! drive the 200 miles even if it is just for 30 minutes to share with her while she is still here and hold her hand;


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