I haven’t said much in a long time. And here I am to say that word. Hospice. Such a heavy word. Where did it even come from, anyway? Yet, when we say it, we all know what it means. Someone is dying.

My Mom is dying. No one likes to talk about dying, but I am talking a lot about it lately. I talk about it with my husband, my dad, my sister and brother, my friends, and even my Mom. The one thing that no one ever wants to talk about seems to be the only thing that I am talking about.

But aren’t we all, technically, dying?

This time last year my Mom was living. She didn’t know that she had cancer. She wasn’t feeling well all the time, but she was doing the things that she always did. And now, that is all gone. In less than a year, her life, all our lives have been dramatically changed.

And I come back to Hospice. The program, THE PEOPLE, that help you die.

What a depressing post, you are thinking. I don’t blame you. It does seem depressing, doesn’t it? And this is hard. Harder than anything I have ever done. It will probably be the hardest thing that I ever do. And I pray every day that I will never have to do this again, though if statistics are true, my prayer may not be answered the way I hope.

But the people. These people. They are so kind. So caring. And they are here. And I wonder, how can they do this? How can they establish these relationships and how can they be kind over and over to people that will never be able to be kind to them.

Because that is true, isn’t it? When we do something kind for someone, we hope because we are friends, that someday that person will be kind to us. It is friendship. We take care of each other. My friends at this time in my life have been amazingly kind to me. Listening to me. Care packages. Dinners. It has lifted me up. And I hope that some day I will be able to lift them up also.

But these women that have come to the house. We are not friends, but they lift me up. And it is unlikely that when this is over, that I will know them. But yet, I will. I will always remember them. The nurse that came over on a windy, rainy evening to reassure us that all was OK. I look back at that day and she really didn’t need to come. There was nothing that she could do that we hadn’t done already. But she came. Just for us. To tell us that it was OK. She hugged me as she left, and I wanted to sob into her arms.

Then there is the nurse that comes twice a week. Yesterday, she told me that we were taking good care of mom. She told me that I was doing a good job. She even gave me special kudos. It sounds so silly, but I ate it up. It was like I was in first grade, and she gave me a gold star on my paper. I wanted to cling to her. Please don’t go! Tell me that it is going to be all right.

But she can’t tell me that. It isn’t going to be all right. My mom is dying. Just as we all are. For the wages of sin is death.

Praise be to Jesus Christ! Because that isn’t how it ends. Death is not the end. There is more…

But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

And I am thankful, so thankful, for the earthly gift of the Hospice nurses that come to make this journey into everlasting life comfortable for my mom. And I am thankful for the reassurance and the comfort that they give to me and to my family. For us. We who help those who are dying. For us. We who still have living to do.