A personal post about my mother’s approaching death

This past month has been a hard one for me. My mother is in hospice care at an assisted-living home.

Along with waves of grief about my mother’s approaching death and guilt for not being a better son, I’ve been struggling with anger at “the system.” The people within this system are kind, ethical, caring, and professional. And yet, time and again, they perform functions that reveal a sort of death industrial complex that is bent on extracting money and minimizing care, even if it shortens your loved one’s life.

I don’t believe in burdening others with my hardships. Instead, I want to give you advice that will hopefully be useful if you find yourself in a similar situation.

  • When your loved ones are dying, and you’re struggling with emotions and making difficult decisions, realize that you don’t have to do it all on your own.
  • To the people around you, admit that you’re struggling. Where appropriate, share your feelings. Otherwise, when you need to be with your feelings, you can excuse yourself from situations.
  • Ask a loved one to help you with the logistical and administrative work; there are forms to sign, phone calls, and purchases such as sending Ensure protein drinks, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, gowns, and multivitamins to an assisted living facility.
  • Know what your parent’s or loved one’s rights are or ask the person helping you to know what’s covered and what isn’t by the insurer, medicare, and Medicaid. This information is critical for getting care, medications, and coverage.
  • Don’t sign or agree to anything upfront or verbally. Always require documents and ask for a day to review them before you answer or make a decision.

Update, 4/2/21: I’ve striken some words, above, that I think were too specific to the time and situation when I wrote them. I was upset by some issues with my mother’s care at that time and that statement was too general. I have very positive feelings about the nursing home where she is presently and the hospice care provider that’s looking after her.

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