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Caroline was always very close with her mother. They would talk on the phone multiple times a day, run errands together throughout the week and meet for brunch every Sunday. When Caroline’s father passed away, it just seemed natural for her mother to move in with her and her daughter. Caroline was a single mother so the extra help around the house didn’t hurt either!
The family quickly got into a routine and they were thriving in their new living arrangements. Caroline’s mother would even help out with carpool to give Caroline some time to herself. Four months later, Her mother was diagnosed with liver cancer. Caroline and her daughter watched her quickly transform from a strong, independent woman and parent/grandparent to someone who required around-the-clock care and assistance just to sit up or swallow a mouthful of soup. They were all terrified.
Caroline called the Jewish Hospice Program at JF&CS for support. She met with a social worker and received counselling where she could openly talk about her mother’s prognosis and her fears about her dying. The JF&CS social worker assisted Caroline and her mother to navigate through the healthcare system, connecting them to homecare supports and a palliative physician who could make home visits. At Caroline’s mother’s request, a Hospice Rabbi paid a visit within days to provide spiritual support. She was matched to a volunteer who visited weekly and gave Caroline a chance for some much needed respite. The social worker also guided Caroline’s conversations with her daughter on what to expect during the end-of-life process and how to explain what dying meant.
Caroline’s mother passed quickly; in less than three months from the time she was diagnosed. Caroline felt that had it not been for the Jewish Hospice Program, the process would have been much more awful than it was. She was connected to a JF&CS bereavement group for adults who have recently lost a parent, where she met others who had experienced similar pain. Caroline still meets with her social worker for counselling and is constantly stressing how important the Jewish Hospice Program was to her and daughter. Together, they are coping with grief and mourning the loss of their mother/grandmother while continuing to live their lives with her memory.
*Names, photos and certain identifying features have been changed in order to protect the anonymity of our clients.