Every day I see family members of our hospice patients go through various stages of grieving. The stages of grief that family members endure are filled with tears, anger and emptiness and their grief tugs at my heart strings every time. As a hospice nurse, it is important that I provide not just the necessary medical care; but that I support the emotional needs of the family by listening to them, providing empathy and guiding them through this process.
Recently, I lost my Grandmother. She was a tough, feisty woman with end stage Alzheimer’s dementia. Her disease process was slow. It took 15 years for her to succumb to this horrible disease and be at peace. After her death, I realized several things. This wasn’t the first time I had lost her; the disease had taken her from me many years ago. And, I was experiencing the tears, anger and emptiness like many of the family members of patients I had supported. I realized that what I needed most was someone who could give me undying support; someone to console me. It was the empathetic hearts, kind souls and vast knowledge of my Grandmother’s Hospice team that helped me navigate the grieving process. They helped me through the rollercoaster ride of emotions I was feeling and showed me that there was a way to feel happy and at peace after my Grandmother’s passing. Because the comfort and support I received was coming from this hospice team that had cared for and knew my grandmother it somehow connected me to her in a stronger way. My own experience has now shown me that what my hospice team at the Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice does every day is priceless. They are an amazing group of caregivers.
I wish that everyone who loses a loved one could have such a dynamic support team surrounding them, lifting them up and sharing memories that help to guide them past sadness and into a place of peace.