As our journey continues, the teachings never stop. Patience, gratitude, strength… so many lessons. And now, one of the most difficult – unselfishness.

A Final Wish for Comfort and Peace

My mom took care to very explicitly document her wishes in a living will.  She left no question that she wanted comfort care only, including the withholding or withdrawing of artificially or technologically supplied nutrition and hydration.  Tonight, I pulled out the documents to re-read them; I’m not sure why. With or without the piece of paper, I know full well what she wanted. This ordeal has already carried on for years and years longer than she would have wished…

Still, being at Kobacker House, our inpatient hospice, is a contradiction of sorts. It’s a medical facility, complete with doctors and nurses, yet this is not a place where they fix things. There are no IV bags or tubes. No electronic monitors flashing and beeping or lab technicians coming and going at all hours. We’re taught that doctors heal. Ah, but not always.

These doctors, nurses, and aides are here to ensure comfort. Warm, gentle baths and lavender lotion. Holding a hand, fluffing a pillow, a pretty pink nightgown, freshly laundered. And lorazepam and morphine when pain, anxiety, and agitation take over.

Honoring Her Wishes

Human nature makes me want to ring the nurse and have her hang a bag of IV fluids, just in case it might make a difference. And that’s where the lesson in unselfishness begins. No matter what, the most important thing right now is respecting my mom’s wishes. She made those decisions when she was of sound mind and body, and she knew exactly what she wanted.

For me to deny her final wish for a peaceful departure from this world, free of the things that would prolong her discomfort, would be the ultimate act of selfishness. It’s not giving up, it’s honoring her wishes. God will take her when He is ready. Her angel wings await… it’s just a matter of time now…


  1. Lisa Wright

    Thank you Ann for your unselfish nature, for your Mom and all of us that you shared this with. As my sister and I face these decisions with both of our parents your words are reassuring, comforting, and yet hopeful.

    As our Dad still sings the old hymns, I don’t want to loose him but I know he looks forward to the day when he meets his Lord and Savior and hears the words he has preached so many times “Well done thy good and faithful servent”

    I don’t know where your journey is now but I know the angels surround you.

  2. Benjamin

    I agree with honoring our loved ones final requests. It’s is very difficult to watch and know that our friend, lover, parent, or other relative is thursting for water and needs nourishment. My mom would/could not eat or drink and after 30 days we watched her slip into God’s waiting arms. I held her in my arms as she took her last breath, and asked her to pray for her son when she meets Jesus. I feel her prayers, especially as I write this note. God be with each of as we prepare for that moment of release and joy.

    • Ann Napoletan

      Benjamin, Yes, it’s so, so very difficult to witness. It’s hard to get those images out of my head sometimes. May you always feel your mother’s spirit guiding you through life, until you meet again. I am praying for the same…

  3. susie dillon

    Ann, you are so amazing. Your my inspiration. I miss you so much. Think of you and your momma daily. Love you.

    • Ann

      Aww, Susie – Love you, too. We need to get together for a drink or dinner when the weather warms up. I miss you.

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