ON HOSPICE TIME
by Janine Carranza, RN
"...all things created have an order in themselves..." Canto I, Paradiso ~ Dante
We fear death. When it comes for us or a loved one we deny it. As it comes to pass we sense that dying could be gentler, more meaningful. We suspect there is an order to dying that we don't understand. Grief is nearly equaled by regret.
Janine began her life of service helping her father, a self-taught nurse, provide healthcare to the poorest people in the mountains of Mexico. She was 17. After becoming a nurse she found hospice care. She guides people through the process of dying. On a daily basis she learns that in heartbreak there can be profound beauty and joy. And peace.
This is not a how-to guide with checklists for a good death. Janine tells the stories of her life with death and how she, the dying, and their loved ones puzzle through each situation to discover what is possible. Finding the order of a death often means finding the order of the life.
You will be introduced to unforgettable people grappling with dying. The stories will ispire you to find the grace to accept and even embrace dying with peace and without regret.
~ Michael Wisniewski
The inevitable finality of death, and its apparent characteristic disregard for personal choice, alienates those who cherish life with its inherent gifts of promise and limitless possiblilities. As the ultimate shared denominator between all living beings, death has the unique power to bond us in dread and apprehension. As a prelude to the afterlife, it also holds us together with intrigue over the greatest of all mysteries.
Growing up with a father as a midwife in rural Mexico where birth and death are less temporally insulated from each other through poverty and limited healthcare, Janine's early experiences were a timely prelude to her later training as a hospice nurse on the West Coast. Through the soulful narratives lovingly witnessed, distilled and colleced over years of practice, Janine's recounted stories reveal dying, not as a dark and ominous event in which we might seem bullied to participate, but show death in its contrast to life as the only parameter that is stark, firm, and powerful enough to imbue the deep meaning that her patients experience in the narratives they hope to communicate through their passing.
As faith "lives in the shadow of doubt," life is experienced in the ominence of death. But who we become in that process becomes more important than life itself. The kind of person we apire to be, the character we develop, the faith we minifest, our capacity to invest in hope rather than fear, both in dying and taking care of those dying, becomes the ultimeate celebration of life.
These stories are individually and collectively timeless in their grace, paralleled only in the love and faith in which they have been poignantly gifted and inspirationally collected for sharing.
~ Todd Carranza, MD