Yesterday I received the news that my grandmother, Bess Rice, has entered hospice care. She has Alzheimer’s and her body is failing her. The disease has taken a lot from her, but there have been many moments when her spunky spirit and feisty sense of humor emerges. I’m so thankful for those moments I’ve been able to witness. She cared for her family with a level-headed stalwart grace, and journeyed with her husband, my grandfather, through his own hospice care, reading a book of love poems to him as he died. After he died my grandmother was alone for the first time in her life. She was 80. She was not a fan of not having anyone other than herself to take care of, but she made a go of it for a while. I visited her last month in her assisted care home in Coos Bay, Oregon. She didn’t recognize me, but I was expecting that. I think she thought I was yet another visiting nurse. We sat together and shared words of not much significance, and when I stood to go she grabbed my hand firmly. I sat back down and she fell asleep while holding my hand. When I stood to leave the second time, I announced my departure with a kiss on her cheek. Her eyes flew open and she gave me a look like “ Well, now isn’t that fresh of you?!” I had forgotten that she didn’t know I was family, it must have given her quite a shock. It strikes me that hospice care is like a midwife but on the other end of the adventure of life. I’m grateful for these helpers and hope they too get to witness her dynamic wit.