I have been supporting Darlene for over a year now as she worked diligently to ensure her dear Granny got to die at home. Well, Granny is still in her home and she is in the final stages of her walk towards death. Granny got her wish because of a very simple fact – Darlene made it happen.
I was sitting in the living room, strange as Granny is dying there, with Darlene and her father’s partner Daphne and the still present Granny. The couch, chairs, end tables, fireplace, and television were joined by a hospital bed on which Granny lies comfortably and gracefully. The space is a bit cluttered as they have added portable table on which they and family can place snacks and drinks. Most importantly it is Granny’s home and a big part of her grace and comfort is she knows she is safe in the home she has know for decades.
A day before my visit a palliative care nurse came by to support Darlene with some medical care for Granny. Today during my visit Granny’s caseworker dropped by to check and make sure both Granny and Darlene we well and getting the support they needed. Moments before I left a community-based care aide dropped in to take care of Granny’s bodily needs like a change of her diaper. Daphne was there too as Granny’s death is imminent and Darlene wants the support so she is not alone as Granny dies.
Granny’s son called during my visit and was planning on dropping by for another visit with his mother tomorrow.
It was a lovely scene, Granny surrounded by family, friends and professional community-based care and support.
It was not always this way though. Darlene often struggled through the thick times when care demands were high and the thin times when she did so all alone. It was through the struggle of thick and thin that Darlene learnt the skills necessary to make Granny’s final days look so graceful and serene.
It was through upsets with the family, struggles financially, confusion with the medical system, and sometimes-passionate arguments that include spats with me, which the result of a dignified death for Granny was craved out.
It was slugging through financial details with family and investment advisors; completing difficult calls with a funeral director; educating a physician about a letter of expect death in the home, and complete conversations with Granny’s case manager that Granny got her wish.
The magic of this story is there was no magic only a dedication to supporting Granny’s final wish through firm intention and constant attention to all the many details that needed to be in place for it to look like magic had happened.
The full story will find its way into social media once Granny has passed and Darlene and her care team have had the opportunity to grieve their loss in a way that dignifies all the effort they put in place to create a great good-bye for Rosalie.