The living journey with Hospice Austin…I visited my mom Debbie today, who is in her fourth month of hospice care; she is 77 years old. I picked up lunch for both of us to have a mini picnic outside her nursing facility before it gets too hot. I arrived a bit early and discovered she was with her Hospice Austin certified nurse aide getting a shower. While I’m preparing for the picnic outside, out comes Debbie with her loving caregiver who she sees every time…not someone new all the time. She brings mom to me and gently touches her arm and wishes her a wonderful day. “I’ll see you tomorrow” she says…my mom just grins and tells me how kind her “Hospitality Austin” lady is to her.
We have lunch; I talk, she eats… she’s on a new medication that reduces the swelling of the tumor in her brain, and she is much more lucid with this medication. She is closing one eye, and when she’s looking the other direction she switches and closes her other eye. It’s a game she doesn’t know she’s playing. She says everything is clearer that way…one might say it’s a balancing act and we both laugh about how she doesn’t even know she’s doing it.
Yesterday I received an update via email from her nurse telling me how gracious my mom is, how she never complains, she’s not in pain, etc. she is just happy to be visited and taken care of by nice people…the nurse said she is honored to care for her. On Monday I received a text from her volunteer. My mom calls him “Silver,” and he visits her at least three times a week…he wants her to adopt him because she is so nice. For me and my family, getting to see my mom more often and being present in her journey has been one of the most rewarding lessons of life…but her story is about the quality of life at the end of her journey. My mom has outlived her prognosis by several weeks now. Every cold or slight infection is a threat and we know that because her caregivers are so frequent and loving, she is less at risk.
I’ve been a volunteer for Hospice Austin’s Beauty of Life brunch for several years. This year, my volunteerism begins at home with my mom. Our table at Beauty of Life this year is named “Hospitality Austin Ladies” because that is what my mom calls her Hospice Austin caregivers. Hospitality, love and peace is exactly what they give back to our family. I just don’t know where we would be without this caring and wonderful organization to love her and give us peace of mind.
Thank you, Hospice Austin, for your tremendous “Hospitality.”
Hospice Austin Beauty of Life Volunteer