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49. The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law's Memoir of Caregiving by Lisa Ohlen Harris

This is a lovely memoir of a daughter-in-law who lived with and cared for her mother-in-law in the final seven years of her life. 

I fell in love with Lisa's writing style when I read Through the Veil a few years ago and was pleased to see she had written another book!

Lisa is brutally honest about her feelings, and I find that very refreshing. Life was not easy for her during those years. Her self-sacrifice is admirable considering she was the daughter-in-law and had four young daughters at the time! It is such a beautiful thing that a daughter-in-law, who lacks that heart tie of "blood" relation, would take on such a challenge.

I find the book a sad indictment on the medical people who surrounded her and did not encourage her to seek out Hospice care much earlier! Thank the Lord that when my mother had heart disease, we had a doctor that said it was crazy to take our mother into the emergency room every time she had an incident when Hospice could come to her and give her the medication she needed. I think that Hospice rules seem to be different for each state. The rules for when to call in care have also changed, as we did not call in Hospice until the last few days of my father's 4 1/2 month battle with pancreatic cancer in 1985. 

I believe my mother had Hospice care for over 9 months, but we were told we could call for it 1 1/2 years before death.  My mother received regular visits from nurses, clergy, and even a podiatrist who came to her place and lovingly cared for her ailing toes. 

The only person I never saw was the doctor, and I was there day and night for the last month of my mother's life. But the nurses came regularly and were a great support! They became great friends as the month progressed. 

My mother was ready to die long before we even called in Hospice, but this was not the case with Lisa's mother-in-law, and that broke my heart. 

This book is a "must-read" for anyone who will be involved in end-of-life care.

Mom and Me - November 2007
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