My mom passed away a little over 2 years ago in South Florida (where my people go to die). She was 96 and had lived long enough to outlive most of her family and her friends. She was ready. Once when a doctor told her she would live to be 100, she told him, “Don’t get me mad!” Around March of 2015 she received a terminal diagnosis. We talked. She had already made up her mind that she would not go through any procedures to extend her life but she wanted to know if I was okay with that. I told her I understood and though I never thought she would die, I had to face reality. My mother had her entire end of life scenario planned and paid for. She had already been in contact with hospice and set up a timetable for when she would need them at her condo. My mother never wanted to be a burden to my brother or myself. As the end approached, she had round the clock care. It gave me great solace to know that she wasn’t alone. She didn’t want us to be doing her nursing care. I would call regularly and her hospice nurse would always call to her, “Miss Florence, it is your son, Steven.” If she only knew that my mother only wanted to be called, “Fay.” The nurse was wonderful. She bathed her, sang to her, read to her and never left her alone. My mother told us she would hang in there for a planned Mother’s Day gathering at her apartment. She kept her promise. When we arrived, It was a great shock to me to see her on oxygen in a hospital bed in her room. She was in and out of consciousness but the calming influence was always the hospice nurse. She would speak with me….”you are the sensitive one..your mother told me.” Through my tears, she provided me with a great deal of comfort. We spent the weekend in and out of the apartment. We said our good byes. My last words to my mom were not ‘I love you.’ She knew that. They were ‘thank you.’ We flew home the next day. On our way home, my cell rang. It was the hospice nurse. My mom had passed. I don’t think I would’ve wanted anyone else to be the one to tell me. I guess, looking back, what I would tell others is that you can really count on these caregivers. They are skilled and caring. They treated my mom as a unique individual and not a ‘case.’ Honestly, I could not have given my mom the care that was afforded to her by hospice. They were angels.