Mary Ann Papageorge is a nurse who has worked for over 25 years in the critical care field with the last twelve years specializing in palliative care and working with the dying. Her degrees and experience both in business and nursing have allowed her to combine her passions for both the business of dying along with the emotional and physical preparation for death.

Dying is not a medical event; it is a natural progression of life. Death is a life affirming event that hopefully, if done well, it celebrates and honors a life well lived. Dying is a form of transformation, a metamorphosis, the act of closing a chapter from a really good book.

In our society, we prepare for all things…except death.

A Japanese Buddhist Monk, back in the 13th century once said:

First study death, then study other matters.
Japanese Buddhist Monk, Nichiren (1222-1282)

How shall we live knowing that we are going to die? I believe our society is hungry for more satisfying answers than we are offered through the medical models, market place or even institutional religion.

I am a nurse and an end of life advocate with a deep love and respect for the dying and their loved ones. I have cared for my own dying family members, friends and, many patients both in the hospital and home. My work begins when others have given up, lost hope and have nowhere else to turn.

The Last Visit blog is a resource for end of life issues like pain and symptom management. It’s about the business and “doingness” of our final affairs. It’s about sharing stories, providing tips and citing thoughtful prose. But most of all, The Last Visit is about self-discovery and re-embracing that part of life…that involves death.

Here individuals, family members and caregivers will find the tools, information, conversations, and possibly a different way to think and prepare for end of life.

It is my strong intention that everyone has someone with them during the final hours that they trust in life as well as their death.

Mary Ann Papageorge, RN, BSN, CHPN
Nurse, Educator and End of Life Advocate