Jen's Story.

Jennifer Ozawa spent her final days in her home, surrounded by the people she loved.

An ardent reader, music lover, amatuer photographer, veteran podcaster, blog writer, crossword puzzle solver, loving wife, and caring mom — Jennifer was all of this and so much more. We asked Jennifer’s husband Ryan to reflect on their hospice journey. These are his own words:

I wish there was a word that articulated really what hospice involves, it sounded so clinical to me, like it was the last clinical step and not a new thing. Yet, it was that transition to hospice where I kind of felt differently about my wife’s treatment. I was impressed by how much of the hospice experience is emotional and psychological
and spiritual. As my wife’s caregiver, I knew that I was going to learn how to deal with a catheter, how to transport her to her bed, how to create the hospital setting at home. But it was a lot of that other stuff that I was like, “wow.” The counselor that checked on us every day, the people who deal with children specifically and can talk to them, the nurses who cried with us. They build relationships and they’re not shy about it.

Transitioning from hospital to hospice, I think the difference is that it’s the first and last time where you feel acknowledged in your experience as a full human. All of our conversations with our doctor up until that point were about tumor sizes and blood counts.

They’re throwing every piece of modern technology to save a person’s life as a biological creature. And then it’s only in that hospice period where you take that step back and you see the entire other half of a person, not just their vessel, not just their blood counts and statistics, but their comfort and happiness.

Jen told me, “I want to be at home, I don’t want to die in a hospital, I want to be with you guys.” And so we did everything we could to give her the comfort, love and dignity that she deserved.