Things They Said

“Based on my experience, she’s holding back. Something is unfinished. You need to tell her it’s okay to let go! She’s worried about you! Just tell her! Tell her to let go! Don’t keep her here! Tell her! Tell her! Tell her!” –Our least favourite hospice night nurse, the night before it happened.

“Wow. Your eye bags are getting pretty big under there!” –The clinical director of The Place.

“Let us know if there’s anything we can do.” –Pretty much everyone.

“Look for the meniscus. There, that bubble there. Watch it sink. That’s it.” –The first hospice day nurse, giving us instruction in how to administer morphine.

“Well, when it starts fast, it usually continues fast.” –Hospice doctor, discussing brain tumours.

“You okay?” –Mom.

“What are you talking about? I have no idea about any of that. I’m not in charge of that.” –Clinical director at hospice, when asked why her team had not been communicating with us about durable medical equipment.

“Have you received Jesus Christ into your heart?” –Random night shift staff at The Place, while I was awake at 2 am still trying to get over jet lag.

“I can see she is a real lady.” –Our favourite hospice day nurse.

“Well, maybe you should be sleeping on the floor in her room so this doesn’t happen again.” –Hospice aide, upon learning Mom had fallen out of bed.

“We can’t be liable for that.” –Managing director of The Place.

“I’m sorry, I wish there was something I could do.” –Hospice social worker.

“We’re HERE to make SURE that Miss STEPHANIE is OKAY. We’re here to MAKE SURE she’s BEING TAKEN CARE OF.” –My least favourite evening staff at The Place, usually once a shift. Usually accompanied by a sneer.

“So you don’t want the online webpage internet site for your mom’s memorial? What about the keepsake prayer cards?”–The funeral director.

“Are you taking care of yourself? What are you doing for you?—Pretty much everyone.

“I just put on a little lipstick and blusher—I thought she looked a bit pale and I wanted her to look nice today.”—Our second favourite hospice night nurse, explaining why she’d put a full face of makeup on a sleeping Mom.

“Oh, honey, it’s so hard. It’s your mom. Your mom. I mean, you love her and now she’s declining so fast, it’s just terrible. I mean, this is your mom.” —Hospice LPN, who had a firm grip on the obvious.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.” –Pretty much everyone.

“I love you.” –Mom.


  1. You’re really good at this blogging thing Chiara. (Like Hospice LPN, I too enjoy pointing out the obvious.) You are always delightful to read, no matter the topic or circumstances.
    Also spotted myself in there with “Are you taking care of yourself?” I meant it too :)
    Much, much love from Melbourne.

  2. You made me cry. Hugs!

  3. Girrrrrl, I KNOW. (So did anyone ask you about the house yet? I really wonder if that was a 2005 thing or what.)

  4. Also I think you’re smart and pretty and stuff.

  5. Aw crap, so familiar. xo

  6. oh oh. i’m sure others have said it, but i’ll join the chorus::
    fuck. fuck.
    i’m so so so very sorry.

  7. See, Jezmerelda is all up on the internet slang that all the kids are using these days. What’s LPN? (ahhhhh, just googled it.)

    Yup, saw a couple of my/everyone’s comments. It’s hard not to sound trite or like a broken record in this sort of situation.

    I’m glad you don’t ever have to be in The Place again!

  8. UGH. I just sent a sympathy card to someone who lost her father on Monday. I wrote, “People will say things to you that are utter crap. They mean well (mostly).”

    I’m sorry that is a universal happening (and I say that as a person who has often said well-meant utter crap herself). I hope the last words you wrote in that post will eventually drown out the sound of the others. They are the most important ones, after all. Love to you, from an internet stranger.

  9. “I love you. I love your mom.” – Me
    “I love you. I love my mom.” -You
    I love you. I love your mom still.

  10. So so sorry, Chiara. Count me in the everyone who wants to know that you’re taking care of you, and wishes there was something we could do, and states the obvious. Much love.

  11. 12 years later and I still remember the doctor I hated most “Oh, you’re still here?”. I still remember the nurse who tried to console me – nice try. I don’t know how I made it through. When I look back I feel like I was sleepwalking through those years.

    There is no advice. Every relationship is different. Feel what you feel. Hold your family close. Be the wonderful daughter she loves.