My beloved father was recently referred to hospice. So we brought him home to die. No one prepares you for the waiting. They generalize the expectations because everyone’s experience in hospice is different. But no one tells you that waking every morning, wondering if today will be your loved one’s last day, is emotionally and physically debilitating. They don't tell you that sleep is difficult because you're afraid to not be there when they need you.
Patience has never been one of my virtues. Rushing through those things I can control is my norm. But no one wants to rush death. And waiting for it, knowing it will inevitably invade your happy place but not knowing exactly when, is brutal. Since the decision was made, each day has gotten harder. Daddy’s needs change with each passing hour. The caregiver responsibilities must sometimes change on a dime. And patience is often the divide between success and failure when you must wait, uncertain what will come, and what you must rise up to meet.
His hospice care team have been phenomenal. Their support and guidance have allowed us the grace to do this. Friends have circled around, support unexpected and appreciated. Family have stood strong, despite the inevitable drama that comes with fear and sadness and the lack of patience for bullshit usually ignored. Gratefully, petty disputes over rice and plastic cups only last as long as the timer for his next dose of pain meds to be dispensed, or the tears that come with the memories.
I cherish the memories. Not just those well in the past, but those made as family and friends have said their goodbyes. Memories wrapped in laughter that rattles the walls of our home, or watered by the mist of ugly tears. Losing myself in the memories has kept me standing. They have helped me with the waiting. I’m learning the fine art of patience. I just hate how the lesson is being taught.