caring for a mom on hospice

The Hospice Chaplan Lisa just said to me as we sat on the couch and I cried, “Hospice is hard to understand if you’re not ‘in it.'”

My emotions don’t care if it is 1:15pm on a Wednesday, after a team meeting and during a training, and prior to a 2pm call with a colleague from another hospital. They are raw and appear when they feel like it.

“But I’m the rock, here, Lisa,” I told the Chaplan. “And I have clinical depression and anxiety. I do not have time to collapse or everything collapses around me.” I am desperately trying to set up my time back in MA so that I can get appropriate rest, but I have 2 cats and 2 kids who seek my attention. They aren’t thinking about my needs. I feel completely isolated and alone. And I know this is the trigger to my road to depression. I am desperately trying to block these triggers by finding additional therapy resources, providing a quiet place to sleep, an uninterrupted workplace, and a break from this hell I feel like I am living in. With all do respect to my mom’s friends and extended family, this is my mother I’m losing – my support person, the person who listens to me when I need advice or support, and I don’t have her to talk to anymore. So when people come to me with their sense of loss, it sometimes boggles my mind because what about my loss? These are the times I feel incredibly alone. This isn’t a judgement on anyone in particular or to dissuade others from verbalizing their personal sense of loss. This is just me feeling like I need to take a step back from my people pleasing mentality and remind myself that I don’t need to respond to all of the emails, texts, and calls right now. I can wait until I’m stable enough.

This is the depression talking, and I’m trying to find the tools to help me. I asked to reschedule my afternoon meeting, and I will make it up later.

There is a vulnerability to writing this here on my blog. I know there are a lot of people reading this who may not understand or get personally offended by what I write. It’s not about you. It’s about me and my needs. It’s about my family’s needs. Here is a good overview of what hospice entails in case you’re not sure.

I am so grateful to friends and family who read this and support us in the ways we truly need support. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, your outreach is truly special and we love it. Mom loves the flowers and plants she has received. We discuss each sender and their role in our lives. Dad and I have loved the delivery of sweets, especially those Nothing Bundt Cakes. Yesterday I went over there and bought us two more! And when we’re emotionally stable, we read all of the texts and emails to her. As long as you’re ok if we do it on our timeline, keep them coming and I’ll share when I can. If you need a response on your timeline, I would wait for a greenlight from me either here or on Facebook when we can handle these things emotionally. It’s the little things that help us out. My parent’s friends have been dropping off food to us several times a week. It’s incredibly helpful. Going to the supermarket has become increasingly more stressful for me because of crowds and lines. So, when Dad tells me he has salmon croquettes waiting for him, I am incredibly relieved because I know he’s set for the night. My friend “M” sent me a Dunks gift card. So amazing. “A” sent me a Door Dash gift card. We feasted on gourmet Chinese on that. It is so much easier for folks to just send to us what is in their heart than to ask me what we need. It’s hard for me to think about what we need. I drink a ton of coffee, eat a lot of salads and chocolate (nice balance, right?), and my dad will pretty much enjoy whatever food he doesn’t have to make himself!

And wouldn’t you know it? This post has calmed me down and helped me center myself. What do I need right now? Lunch and rest.