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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Nancy is ready

My dear friend Nancy Reinsvold will transfer to Zilber Hospice in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin tomorrow morning. Today we talked about hospice.

She said, "My doctor told me a long time ago that when I'm ready, I'll know."

I asked, "Are you ready?"

She nodded.

I asked, "How do you feel about it?"

"Well, there's nothing you can do about it," she answered, very matter-of-factly. She paused and added, "It will mean no more pain."

I've never heard her complain about any pain...even when she lay for hours with a broken hip and no pain meds. The nurses at the hospital tell her she's their best patient. They all say they want to take her home. She'd be an easy one to kidnap, at 90 lbs. or less.

She had surgery for pancreatic cancer in July of 2010. Since then, she's had chemo and radiation treatments. The treatments didn't slow her down much. I always told her, "For someone who's not doing very well, you're doing pretty well."

She has a full vegetable garden planted and some new flower beds - more than I can say for myself. She wants to see her giant multi-colored hydrangeas blooming. I told her I'd take a picture and bring it to her.

She seems completely accepting of the end. She is tired of the constant tests and procedures she's endured at the hospital since she broke her hip May 31.

She wants to rest.

I stroked her forehead today at the end of my visit. "My mother used to rub my forehead like this," I told her.

Nancy never knew her mother, who died when Nancy was a newborn. 

"Your mom is here," I told her. "She's your guardian angel."

"I hope so," Nancy said.

As I stroked her forehead, she slowly closed her eyes.

She wants to rest.

Gail Grenier is the author of Calling All Horses, Dog Woman, and Don't Worry Baby, all available from


  1. Such a lovely but very sad post. I'll keep Nancy in my prayers, Gail. You are a good friend.

  2. Hi Gail. I'm Helen, Nancy's daughter in law. My friend came across this post while searching for Nancy's obituary. I'm so glad she did! Thank you for posting it. We already miss her so much. I'm looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at the funeral. I think I might print this out for each of the boys if that is okay :)

    1. Helen, I'm honored that you would want a copy. I have written about Nancy several times on this blog, going back a year or so. Weren't we lucky to have her in our lives???!!!