The Next Step: Hospice Care

I’m sorry to report that my wife Abby is being transferred from nursing care to hospice care. For those not familiar with hospice care, it is a level of medical care intended to make the dying comfortable.

As I tell friends and relatives this news, many seem shocked or surprised, but since I have witnessed it continuously over the last year, and especially since she has been in nursing care, to me it is less of an event and more of a continual slide toward the inevitable.

Abby’s health has always been difficult due to several important underlying problems like rheumatoid arthritis, and in 2021 she battled a number of illnesses that resulted in several long hospital stays, and eventually to admission in nursing care.

In the last few days, Abby has gotten less responsive, and yesterday was almost non-verbal. Watching this, I wasn’t surprised when a nurse called me aside when I arrived at the nursing center to visit Abby yesterday. In fact, I could see it in the nurse’s eyes, and knew exactly what she was going to say.

“It’s obvious that you are a loving and caring husband,” the hospice administrator told me today as she had me sign the forms, and explained the procedures.

So it’s only a matter of days, probably, before she leaves us, and I want to remain devoted to my ongoing message, that I am grateful beyonds words to have spent so many wonderful years together.

Abby smiles for me at Russell's Travel Plaza in eastern New Mexico in June. Nothing made us happier than traveling together.
Abby smiles for me at Russell’s Travel Plaza in eastern New Mexico in June. Nothing made us happier than traveling together.


  1. My friend my thoughts and prayers are with your family . I know the illness rheumatoid my wife is dealing with this for 14 years now very difficult at times affected her lungs and several other things your on my mind dave ems

  2. The people at Hospice are wonderful, caring people having to provide solace for folks during an incredibly difficult time in lives. Their primary mission is the comfort of their clients. Unfortunately I’ve had to learn all first hand when a loved one left at the age of 44-years-old. My best during the coming times.

  3. She is right, you know. It IS obvious that you are a loving and caring husband.

    Your sunshine always
    The love you will always share
    The weight you must bear

  4. We are here for you during this very difficult time. She is getting the best care and you have been beyond a devoted husband. This part of your journey is the hardest… but your inner strength is greater than you know! Sending you lots of hugs and luvs!
    Cousin Stacy Roberts

  5. Dearest Richard….although, as you said, this was expected, it none-the-less brings me to tears. My heart breaks for you. Just know that you are deeply loved, as is Abby, and your friends and community are holding you tightly. I will simply send you love and peace as you walk through this next leg of the journey.

  6. Richard I am so glad you got to experience a loving partnership with your wife. I can’t imagine the pain of losing that. I hope you will reach out to those who care about you for support during this time. You are a strong person and have been such a wonderful part of Abby’s life. I will be praying for you (even though I know you don’t believe it helps) and if there is anything more concrete I can do for you please let me know. Margaret.

  7. Richard, my heart aches for you, for Abby and your families. It has been almost painfully obvious that the two of you have always been greater than the sum of the parts. The fact that you make a point of being grateful for your time together speaks volumes about your love for her.

    Forgive me if this devolves into a sappy verse fit for a dollar-store sympathy card, but as I read your words, I pictured you looking to the western sky, facing the coming storm of emotions and sadness that will, without fail, arrive and try to swallow you up. I know without a doubt you will take the full brunt of it and remain standing. Bent, perhaps, but not broken.

    No one can predict how long these storms last, but I do know when actual metrological storms are over, there is a certain calm and peace that settles over the land. My wish for you is that same kind of peaceful calm will settle over you and give you comfort.

    This is where I’m probably going to jump the shark, but I can’t help it: I’m hoping, like any good storm, it’s followed by a rainbow, if for no other reason than to remind you of the good days and the promise of days to come.

    Be well, be strong and above all, keep being Richard! Remember, she picked YOU for being YOU!


  8. So sorry, Richard. Please let me know how you are doing. We’re thinking of you.

  9. Your love for each other has been inspiring to watch over the years…May you remember her…..and all the good days you had together..may you find strength and peace.

  10. So sorry Richard, but I know she blessed your life as she did yours! May Gods peace comfort you and Abbie.

  11. Richard,
    Stephanie and I will be praying for peace and comfort for you and Abby.

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