Finding Comfort in Hospice: You Are Not Alone at the End

Hospice Care
June 27, 2024

In my last post my dad was experiencing a change of condition where he slept more, ate less and was much less aware. The change was so pronounced that my older brother and sister both changed their plans so they could come visit my dad sooner rather than later.

In the end, you never really know when the end-of-life will occur. Even when a patient is in hospice, no one has a crystal ball. What was interesting is that we had a series of people who suggested either by experience or evidence that my dad was in his last days.

 Early Warnings

Surprisingly, it was my dad’s pastor, Pastor Pete, that brought the first news. We had asked Pastor Pete to do a visit and his experience with his parents led him to share with my brother and sister that when a person reaches this stage, he always recommends that family comes in sooner rather than later. What sage advice for what is to be lost if you come in too early? And what is to be gained if you come in too late? My experience, if in doubt make the trip, your heart will be glad you did.

 Guidance from Hospice

Our hospice nurse also shared a booklet provided by Kindful called “When the Time is Near” which details the hospice journey and what to expect. The booklet was surprisingly accurate reflecting what my dad was experiencing 1-2 weeks out, days to hours out and within minutes of his passing. In this moment where we, as the adult children, know so little about the transition to the great beyond, it’s a comfort to read and learn what to expect. Our hospice nurse was also able to give us physical changes like lower blood pressure and other clinical signs. And finally, she shared that she thought it was 50/50 that he would make it through the weekend.

Reuniting at Dad’s Bedside

My siblings were able to make it into town so on a Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. my brother, sister and I assembled at my dad’s bedside in his assisted living community apartment. The caregivers had pulled his hospital bed into the middle of the room which allowed the three of us to, literally, surround my father. After an hour of storytelling and speaking to our father, my brother and sister kissed my dad on his forehead, told him that they loved him and that the three of us were going to go to dinner together. Nothing made my dad more happy or proud or satisfied than knowing that his three kids got along well. So as his children broke bread together my dad’s physical presence received the comfort he needed to let his spirit go to the great beyond. So six hours later our dad passed away, clean, comfortable, safe and in the knowledge that he was loved.


It is the nature of life that we will all go through the experience of losing a loved one. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me and our family to know that at the end, you are not alone…you are on hospice…with all its sage advice, keen understanding, comfort, dignity, love and support. May we all be so lucky.