Dear Carolyn,

The holidays bring a “mixed bag” of feelings about family. My mother is under the care of hospice for end of life care. She is aged 94, and her assisted living home has not had COVID-19. She lives in another state. Visitation is strictly limited, but has more allowance for hospice patients. My brother and I don’t speak, and I certainly do not trust him. His betrayals have been too much over the years. Do you have any ideas for holiday celebration under this set of circumstances? The doctor says that I need to come to say goodbye to my Mom. My husband and I are cozy in our home. We haven’t even been out to eat since COVID became apparent in March. I will be perhaps seeing my “Mom” who lives in another state for the last time over Christmas.


Carolyn Answers:

This last visit with your Mom is essential for both of you. For you, letting go with peace. For “Mom,” letting go with peace for a life well lived. Recall stories and the good times. Please talk about your relationship with her. You may feel that you cannot “fix” things, and you cannot. Your “Mom” is still the same person, even if perhaps she cannot do all the same things. Enjoy and cherish every moment. You could read to your Mom, perhaps some favorite Bible verses. Touch is important in all likelihood – maybe apply some lotion to her hands and feet. Or add moisturizer to her lips. Carry a cozy blanket. Take a guitar and play some music if you can.

Say goodbye. The dying person knows she is dying. There may be tears and sadness but that is OK. Say “I love you,” and give hugs. Death is natural.

This will never be comfortable. But, it is better to try than to regret that last visit.



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