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Speaking in Code

She was very nice, as you'd expect. After all, she's a hospice nurse. Her job is to get people through one of the most difficult experiences there is.

This was really sort of a get-acquainted session. For everyone to meet and at least start that conversation. But then she said something that I don't think I'll ever forget.

"Hospice is code for six months."

We had been talking about time and expectations. Actually, we had been saying that we thought it was pretty early to be having this meeting, because we weren't giving up yet.

I don't really remember the context for what she said. When someone says something like that, the other words usually get drowned out.

She did say, of course, that everyone hoped that we would meet, and then never meet again. Again, something I would expect her to say, and mean.

I don't think she was being dishonest in any way. She was being realistic. In her own way, encouraging us to be realistic too.

She may be right. I may have only six months left.

On the other hand, hospice may be code for: "Who the hell knows how much time I have left?"

But it's good to start the conversation. We're going to have to have it at some point, I guess.

I just like my version of what "hospice" is code for better than hers.

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