Larry Weeks

Between Life and Death: Hadley Vlahos on Hospice care, End-of-Life Moments and Embracing Mortality

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I reminded myself to live for today, not the fears of tomorrow—a promise I had made to myself when I started working in hospice – Hadley Vlahos

The world of hospice nursing has always been a profound intersection of life and death, revealing lessons not only about the journey of mortality but also about the true essence of living in the shadow of it.

 On this Podcast, my guest is Hadley Vlahos or simply Nurse Hadley. Hadley is not just a seasoned hospice nurse but also an end-of-life educator and now a New York Times bestselling author. Her journey and her experiences became the foundation for her bestselling work, The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments. The book captures deep, poignant stories from her time with patients, giving insights into what life’s final moments can teach us about existence itself.

Beyond her written work, Hadley has taken a step further with her nonprofit respite hospice house. This sanctuary is conceptualized to offer families a peaceful environment to remember and celebrate their loved ones.

 In today’s episode, we cover these topic points :

  • Her journey from young mother to nurse and from hospice nurse to author.
  • Hadley’s experiences where patients stated and acted out as if they were seeing their deceased loved ones – and what they reveal about end-of-life encounters.
  • The enigma of the “in-between moments” and their interpretations.
  • Our shared narratives on the afterlife and my skepticism.
  • Some common and not-so-common regrets of the dying
  • How Hadley thinks about death and how she tries to live her life in its shadow
  • And lastly, the practicalities of hospice, from deciding when it’s time to seek hospice care to understanding the intricacies of coverage.

 

Despite the heavy nature of the topic, this episode is remarkably life-affirming. Many thinkers, from philosophers to psychologists, have advocated that understanding our own mortality paves the way to a richer, fuller life. Today’s discussion provides not just a touch of emotional depth but also very practical advice that is invaluable to hear in advance of ever needing it. 

 

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