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I Think I Will Begin at the End...

So here we go.

I am a Nurse, a Registered Nurse to be clearer. I came into nursing with very clear goals in mind of where and who I was hoping to work with. I came into nursing knowing that I wanted to be a Palliative Care Nurse. Why, you may ask? Because I see deep value in talking about dying, death and having difficult deep conversations with people. Is that not grim and depressing? In short, no. Starting conversations about difficult subjects like dying and death are actually, in my experience, extremely fulfilling because we are not in fact talking about dying but in turn we are discussing the things in which make us who we are. They are discussions about how to live.

I love the vocation in which I have chosen and am humbled everyday by my encounters and I am hoping that by having this blog that I can change some people’s minds about what the dying experience is like, what Palliative and End of Life care are about and why we need to think and discuss dying and death so we can get on with living to our fullest potentials.

I am excited and quite nervous to begin this journey, as I have never blogged before. It is with great trepidation but also great compassion that I too hope to discuss my mortality and make more sense of this tangled web. Welcome to the journey into the veil…

I figured I would begin with something I wrote after one of my patients died:

Today l listened to someone’s last breath. I heard their heart beat its last beat. I told someone their mother is gone, forever. I listened to a fully but silent thoracic cavity for a full three minutes to ensure what l knew in my heart had happened was reality. I cleaned and prepared a body that no longer breathes or thinks that we know of at least. I took my time and made sure to use her personal body lotion so when her family said their goodbyes her scent would linger longer than she had. I called a funeral home and a doctor to notify them of this all. I comforted a family that had only recently said goodbye to this person’s partner. I waited for the funeral home to come retrieve the body.

I thanked her, though they no longer could hear me. It is both an honour and a privilege to care for those immanently dying. I covered the body, as l had numerous times before with a quilt. The quilt. We walked them through the front door, the same way they came, they leave. I watched as the funeral director loaded the gurney into the unmarked van. I stood outside alone watching the taillights fade away. I did this because l do this for all of my patients that have died on my watch. I did not fail. I succeeded. I succeeded in caring for them in the very best way l know how. I walk beside them on their journey from this life into its close. I turned on the candle and I take a deep breath, then I go back to work caring for the rest of my residents. This is the day of a Hospice Nurse.

There we are. Welcome to my journey and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Until next time… xo.

Blog By: Mahoganie Hines aka MyMort on

To learn more about Home Hospice Association's unique approach to Palliative and End of Life care please visit

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