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How Do I Accept That Mom Is Not Immortal


“I was a Hospice nurse, but nothing prepared me for taking care of my own mother. How do I accept that this fragile, dependent woman is not IMMORTAL, and I have no control over the passage of time? Thank you!” - Reader



Bless you for your service to the dying. I am certain that your patients and their families were grateful for your compassionate care at a time when they were most vulnerable. Death and the time leading up to it are a gut-wrenching experience for everyone. Having calm, caring professionals escort you through necessary actions and decisions makes a big difference. As hospice caregivers, we see numerous patients enter our lives with a predicted short lifespan. We care for them, and then they are gone.  Each of them holds a special place in our hearts, but we do not know them like the family members who carry a lifetime of memories and stories. Now you are the family member facing the reality of your mother’s mortality.

I believe that no amount of hospice work can truly prepare you for the grief you will feel for someone you deeply love. You are already having anticipatory grief, which is not uncommon in your situation. It hurts to imagine a future without her someday. You, my friend, are grieving her loss and true grief is painful. It will take some time to wrap your head around the reality of her time coming to an end. She is with you now, though, and you can make her last days memorable. While she may be limited in either mobility or mental capacity, seek out moments that have lasting meaning for the two of you.

While I do not know her capacity, I will suggest A few activities that you might consider:

  • Gather all of the family pictures you can find, and spend an afternoon looking through them.
  • Take her to a cozy lunch restaurant with a great view.
  • Read to her a favorite book.
  • Watch a good movie from your childhood with her.
  • Bundle her up, and take her apple picking, to a pumpkin patch, to a bonfire.

Your mother is the woman who raised you, wiped your tears, bathed you, read you to sleep, and was there for milestones in your life. She was likely your biggest champion. She is someone you look up to and see as immortal. The reality of our own and loved ones’ mortality is intense. Grieve it, then move on to living the life you have together now. I suggest running fast and sliding into home plate, living the remaining days with gusto. She is with you now!

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