What Others Are Saying


  • How you've told friends and family about your end of life wishes.
  • Where knowing a loved one’s preferences made a difference.
  • What you’ve learned that you wish you had known earlier.
  • Other lessons about end-of-life care that could help another person or family


Brittany's picture

Mt. Juliet
In June 2010, my 44 year old mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem glioma. At the time, all we were told by the brain surgeon that due to her tumor's location he was unable to operate. We were advised to contact Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and from there she went thru daily radiation treatments for six straight weeks. I was her only child so of course I had POA, but my mother kept wanting me to go over with her and sign her end of life care paperwork, which I just refused to accept because I was in denial about her being in the dying process. Unfortunately, she kept falling and having accidents in her apartment and eventually had to be transferred to a nursing home. I could not stand the fact that she was only 44 and in a nursing home. I felt so bad for her. I wanted her to be home with me, but I was pregnant and on bedrest for high BP. She knew I was unable to care for her as I had a 1 year old daughter to care for as well. December came, and the day me & my newborn were released from the hospital I got a call from Alive Hospice saying that my mother was there at thier St Thomas inpatient unit requesting to be admitted and needed me or another family member there to sign some paperwork. I immediately broke down in tears right in the middle of my child's pediatrician's office. I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for this. My grandmother (her mother) went to sign the paperwork. I felt bad that I did not have the strength or courage to be there for my mother that day because the next time I saw her (a day or two later) she was already in that hospital bed and out of it. Thankfully, the nurses and hospice staff honored my wishes of having her more awake, but to have her pain still under control and comfortable She was able to meet and hold her first and only grandson. We enjoyed another five weeks with her. The hospice staff not only took care of her, but all of us as well. My only advice to anyone is to be prepared and stick to your loved ones end of life care wishes, and be willing to actually listen to what thier wishes are. After experiencing all of this, I have actually returned to school to obtain my nursing degree with hopes of becoming a hospice/palliative care RN. I hope to one day provide the excellent care like my mother and my family recieved during that time, and to be an inspiration to others like the Alive Hospice staff was to me.
Sophia Vaughn's picture

Even though I had heard about Advanced Directives and Living Wills, I like a lot of people felt that's not for me.Well a reality check came in June of 2009 when my father James W. Vaughn was diagnosed with cancer. After several weeks of crying and praying,my father and I had "The Talk". Little did I know he had a living will. I was still in denial about needing it and could not bring myself to even look at what he had written, it was only in August of 2009 when the doctor informed us that he had 4-6 months to live that I summoned the courage to look at his living will. Just like he had done all my life, my father took care of everything through his living will.He had specific instructions on how he wanted to spend his last days.Yes I had power of attorney but he made sure that I did not have to question myself if I had or would in the future made the right decisions abut his healthcare.He helped me let him go gracefully and instead of concentrating most of my time on managing his healthcare ,me and my children got to spend more quality time with him.He was admitted to Alive Hospice on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville on October 10, 2009.Sadly he passed away on October 13,2009. Even though his stay there was short I know that i could have not made it through those last few days without their help.They not only kept him free of pain but he was happy and comfortable until he died.I still miss my father very much and I feel by him taking the initiative to prepare a living will that we challenges that we had to face were made a lot easier to deal with for I honestly do not know if I could have made the same choices (without questioning myself over and over) if I had not known what he wanted. THANKS DAD FOR LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR BABYGIRL. I LOVE YOU JAMES WILLIAM VAUGHN( JANUARY1,1939-OCTOBER 13,2009)

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