People often ask why I am so passionate about Hospice care – this is my reason:
He simply wanted to truly live while he could.
My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1996, 11 years following the death of my mother to the very same disease. Mother had lived 9 months after being diagnosed, with six of those months seeking aggressive, curative treatment and living in bed with around-the-clock nursing. Dad, a self-determined, self-made man, wanted his life to be different. He fully accepted his dying, and his acceptance showed through in our conversations about the future. He had no fear of death – he simply wanted to truly live while he could.
Dad checked himself into Crossroads Hospice care, seeking only palliative treatment. In hospice care, the ultimate goal dictates that the patient's life be self-determined. Dad’s choice to travel to Wyoming with his wife and see the country during his remaining days wasn’t the norm by any means, but the hospice team – doctors, nurses, social workers, and even the owner – made it happen. They made sure he received care when and where he needed it along his journey and let me know everything in the process. They were truly my hospice team. Their support, guidance, and dedication to my father’s wishes made everything possible.
They were truly my hospice team.
It was hard to let go and let Dad and his wife travel so far from us, as we didn’t know where he was all of the time, but we knew we had quality care when and where he needed it. This is one reason why hospice is my passion. After seeing one parent pass with hospice care and guidance, and one without, I see the richness of life Dad enjoyed having that team alongside his journey. My father, self-determined as ever, died living exactly as he wanted to live.