Knowing someone is dying can be a burden to our heart. There is something called anticipatory grieving- meaning your grief begins just with the idea of losing your loved one. When someone is put on hospice I always tell the patient and the family, “You are not obligated to die, in fact if you get better we will happily have you graduate!” I then go on to explain that my own father was on hospice services three times in an eight year period. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and was gravely ill, but bounced back; up and down he went for eight years. The last conversation I had with his hospice nurse she said, “He’s the healthiest sick person I know!”
I was visiting a patient recently and the daughter walked me out to the car, she told me that her mother, who is well into her 90’s, had told her she had a vision of two angels coming for her and they were holding a beautiful wreath of red roses. The daughter told me she cried for two hours after her mother shared that vision. She was anticipating her mother’s death; her heart was releasing the sorrow that was overflowing. I hugged her and said what a lovely gift that vision was, something she could hold on to when the time came. Two angels and a wreath of roses, a divine escort to heaven.