It was a stroke of genius for the person who chose November as National Hospice Month. It’s close enough to the end of the year to start looking back and reassess what happened in the last 12 months of your life. Yet, it doesn’t interfere with the joyful spirit of the December holidays or the hopefulness of a new year. In addition, the Thanksgiving holiday goes hand in hand with the gratefulness usually associated with hospice.
If you suffered a loss in the last 11 months, we know how hard it is to comeback afterward. The world just doesn’t feel right. Be forewarned, the holidays coming up may be even harder for you. Tradition is really not based on an event but those recurring memories associated with the holidays. It’s the shared experience with loved ones that make the traditions so special. For some, it may be hard to cope with the loss of that shared experience with that special loved one. It may be something simple…an empty chair at the dinner table, Grandma’s holiday mashed potatoes or cutting the tree with Dad. At times like these, you can seek out help. Hospice of Central New York’s Grief Center has programs, groups and one on one sessions that can recommend ways to learn how to cope with the death of a loved one.
The end of the year and Hospice month serves as a great reminder to look back and to share the stories of a family member or friend. It keeps their memory alive within you. It also shows others, especially children that friendship and love do not die with the person. It can also reveal to a younger generation that the old and infirm can offer something to a society that focuses too much on the relevance of youth.
If you were one of the lucky ones in 2017, a person who didn’t have to face caring for a terminally ill loved one or a person who lost someone close…take this time in November to look ahead to that time when you may be facing those realities. We at Hospice hear way too often the lament of “I don’t want to be a burden!” or “I don’t know what mom or dad wanted at the end-of-life, I was afraid to ask and they never told me.”
Start thinking about what you want in the last year of your life. What you decide will make your family feel less burdened. Don’t wait until your sick, do it now while you’re healthy. On the other side, don’t be afraid to talk about it should older family members reach out to you. Remember one day you may have to make a medical choice and having this conversation now will save you from the agony of “did I make the right decision”. Hospice of Central New York can help you and your family with resources and plan Advance Healthcare Directives.
If you suffered a loss within the last year or if you are concerned about being ready for any inevitability, Hospice of Central New York will be here to help, offer comfort and console.