This has never happened to me; I had a patient on hospice since 12/2018-until yesterday. That is a really long time in my world. I spent the first two and half years as her case manager and the last 6 months as the fill in for her new case manager. Some deaths are quick as the body and spirit align in understanding but with dementia there is a disconnect, the confused mind doesn’t align with the spirit and the dying process can be slow and agonizing for the family to watch. Her passing was peaceful, but just took weeks rather than days.
Beyond her dementia her personality was someone who was stubborn to boot- but mostly she did not want to leave her beloved husband and so she lingered.
Her current case manager had gone on a much-needed vacation, so I was enlisted to daily visits. I knew it was the right thing to do as much as my heart was tender.
When I first met this patient, I was wearing a lime green jacket, she wanted it and let me know every time I visited. So off and on for 2 years it was our little joke, until she forgot about it, didn’t recognize me anymore.
So, this is indeed a sad story- so why do I even bother to share it- first because it is reality for so many- dementia, having it or caring for someone who has it. I will tell you the secret to persevering through this maze-LOVE. In fact, most of our life problems are buoyed and endured by LOVE. We just must remember to stay centered in it.
The other thing I wanted to share was as I was sitting at the kitchen table, navigating the grief of her beloved husband and sons, I suddenly felt the sweetest softest gentlest energy surround my shoulders…she was saying Goodbye!