WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE WHEN I WENT ON HOSPICE

Surround yourself with kind, loving, and supportive people who honor your choices and wishes. Put together your special team of people who will help you navigate through this new phase of your life. You have the right to be involved in selecting your caregivers, where you will be living, choosing which family members and friends who can visit you, and whether or not you would like an end-of-life Doula to help provide you with additional kindness and support.

Concentrate on living in the moment every day rather than thinking your life may be coming to an end soon. Celebrate each day by doing something that brings you joy. Plan activities for the upcoming weeks and note your plans on your calendar. My doctors predicted I had about two months to live. That was nine months ago, and I am still enjoying my dream of being a writer.

Value your time by stopping activities you no longer want to do. Avoid people you no longer enjoy being around, such as negative people who are always complaining or people who don’t treat you with respect.

It’s OK to express your sense of humor. It is important to smile and laugh every day. Spend time with people who will laugh with you and make you feel good.

Rather than watching news programs and commercials on TV, watch inspiring and heartwarming movies instead. Listen to your favorite music.

Don’t think about the activities you can no longer do -- think about what you CAN do. If you can’t walk through your neighborhood or a park, have someone take you for a car ride through the pretty countryside. 

When you look through your photographs from the past, try to not let the memories make you feel sad. Be grateful you had the opportunities to travel. Appreciate all the special people who have been in your life. Be thankful for all the love you received.

If you have the opportunity, write your own obituary. Your unique personality will shine through with the words you use, and the information will be correct. No one knows you and your life as well as you do. Don’t be shy about letting everyone know you have done interesting things in your life, and be proud of all your accomplishments.

Spend some time outdoors every day. Sit in the sun, watch the clouds move across the sky, listen to the birds talk to each other, and feel the gentle breeze against your face. Also, spend time with a sweet, furry animal like a dog, kitten, or even a hamster. An animal who likes to sit in your lap or cuddle with you is the best.

Ann, January, 2020