Finding Her Way

Noah and his beautiful mommy  kindergarten  graduation

A week ago today, we were talking to Julie’s oncologist about her worsening condition.  She had mostly recovered from her pneumonia diagnosed a week earlier.  Breathing was good, oxygen levels good, but pain, fatigue, nausea and general fatigue unrelenting.  Her doctor kindly assessed her situation, and expressed doubts that she would ever improve significantly.  With much empathy he discussed hospice care, and told her that it might be time, and that he would support starting hospice care if she wanted.  She cried and nodded agreement.  We left with that option in mind and with a plan to discuss it more and to let her doctor know what she decided.  He made sure she knew that he was always there for her, and that this didn’t mean he was giving up on her.

Surprise Mom

Hospice care is end-of-life care.  One of the goals of hospice is to help people die in peace and comfort.  People receiving hospice care generally do not receive ongoing medical care designed to prolong life.  Hospice medical care is provided to alleviate pain, suffering and to provide comfort.  For Julie, this means that she would stop getting IV nutrition if she started hospice care.  Since she is not eating, she would not live long on hospice care.

Sharing fish and chips, a favorite, with Christopher, Oregon coast

For the rest of the day, Julie avoided the topic of hospice care.  Concentrating on a topic and making a complicated decision is hard.  The next morning, I told her that I was going to let her doctor know what she wanted to do.  She said, “I just can’t decide to do that (go on hospice care).”  I said, “That is fine, you don’t have to decide now.  We will just continue the present course and plan unless you change your mind.”

Fun hair day

This past week, sometimes I think she is feeling a little better, but at other times she seems to be worsening.  The roller coaster ride…only she is not happy, no thrills.  Two days ago she told me that she wants it to be over, and would be ready for the end, if she wasn’t afraid of leaving us.

So happy!  Jordan returned from Brazil

Last night she sobbed as she got into bed, and this morning she sobbed as she got out of bed.  I gave her pain medication, and she slept.  At lunch today, she did not want to get up, but I gently persisted and she sat at the table and we had lunch together, she ate very little.  She cried off and on, and she asked me to read to her before I left, which I did for 5 minutes then put her back in bed before I went back to work.

Group hug for Jordan, Julie so happy

Julie may not ever decide to leave this life.  She might get to the point where she is unable to decide anything.  I am not pushing her one way or another.  I try to help her discover what she wants, without injecting my own opinion into it.  That is hard, lots of conflicts for me.  I hate that she suffers, she knows her pain, yet she chooses to endure it rather than end it.  I just treat it as much as I can without totally making her unconscious all the time.  Darn! This is hard!

Loving Maui between chemo

This past week, we have talked more about positive outcomes, live or die.  I have always been serious and sad with her.  Now, for her sake, I am acting like a cheerleader, always trying to be upbeat and positive, hoping that it will rub off.  Talking more about the miracle of Jesus Christ, paving the way for us to return to God.  Talking more about happiness, life without pain.  Talking about Julie sending her grandchildren into life.  Even talking a little about what we will do after she leaves, living on with her loving memory and trying to make her proud of us always.

My girlfriend

By nature Julie is a happy, fun loving, optimistic person.  I have mourned with her extensively.  I know we will yet mourn grievously.  But for the moment we are fighting fear, doubt and despair.  I will cheer for her, and help her have courage as she finds her way.

6 thoughts on “Finding Her Way

  1. Dear Brad & Julie,

    I just want you to know how much I love you. I am so sorry about Julie. I didn’t know she was sick until I saw your blog recently. I think about you and your family every day and pray for you all. There are so many good memories I have of our time together in Maryland. Please know that Bob and I love you and your family.

    Shaunna Laney
    Mission Colombia, Bogota North

    ps: I’ve sent several emails, but all have been returned. I haven’t been able to locate a current email address for you.

    Also, every time we receive a new missionary from Idaho Falls, I ask them about the Hatch Family ~


  2. I weep profusely Brad as I read this. She is a Saint. She is a Valiant Strong Spirit of the Living God. You are too. Thank you for writing your feelings and thoughts and sharing your pain about this trial in your life. God Bless you both forever.


  3. Thanks, again, Brad for your honest, touching, and loving remarks about a very difficult time in your lives. In the short time I have known Julie and you and your family I have grown to love you all. We’re praying for you and Julie to be at peace with whatever your decisions are, and that the Savior will carry you through this experience.


  4. Dearest Julie, I will always picture you in your prime and healthier years, full of life and smiles for your family and friends. Yet even in your most difficult times of physical pain and emotional heartache, you’ve been the caring and compassionate girl we’ve come to know and love.

    I remember every visit and conversation I’ve had with you through the years. Thank you for being so easy to talk to and for your understanding heart and your pure goodness. Thank you for your friendship, for your faith and devotion to family, for your positive spirit, and for your optimism and enthusiasm for life and learning. I wish we could have lived closer to your family while we were raising our children. What a wonderful aunt and uncle and cousins you’ve all been.

    I’m so grateful for your loving and righteous influence in our lives. Look at the beautiful and exceptional children you and Brad have raised together! I hope Mike and I can come to Idaho again soon to visit you. Please take comfort in knowing that after you return to your heavenly home, your family will carry on the legacy of love and devotion which touches all of us. I look forward to seeing you, Connie, and your dad again in the spirit world one day and to enjoying our family associations in the eternities! I love you so much, Julie. Hugs, Celestine


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