A Glimpse Into the End of Life with Hospice Nurse Hadley Vlahos

“I wish more people would just talk to each other about the end. Surprisingly, even though someone’s in hospice, I still see a lot of hesitancy to talk about the end. When they can do that, I find that patients feel a lot more peace around the end and what is coming.”

Episode 06

As we close out our For the Love of Facing Your Fears series, we’re diving headfirst into a topic that we will all face at one point in our lives (hopefully later than sooner); our very own expiration dates. It’s one of humanity’s most universal yet daunting fears, and we’ve got a compassionate and experienced guide to walk us through the kinds of things we might wonder about, and the beautiful unexpected moments that can accompany our final days. Hadley Vlahos is a hospice nurse whose life experiences and work have provided her with profound insights into the final chapter of our lives. Hadley opens up about her personal journey through struggles and grief, her entry into nursing as a calling, and her perspectives on the beauty that can be found even in our final moments. Her book, “The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments,” encapsulates powerful stories from the bedside of the dying, some of which she shares with us, including the tranquility of the in-between and the serendipitous moments bringing peace to those passing. With over 1.4 million followers captivated by her TikTok narratives, Hadley’s perspective takes the edge off the many worries we may have about the end-of-life process. Join us for a truly poignant exchange that affirms life’s beauty—and its beautiful conclusion.


Episode Transcript

Hi everybody. Jen Hatmaker here. Your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. We are wrapping up a series today and it has been such a good one. It’s been called For the Love of Facing Your Fears. We have just talked about so many interesting subjects that we tend to avoid. Staying true to the theme of this series, we are approaching yet another topic today that almost everybody gets freaked out by. This is one of those if you look at the top ten fears of the average adult, this is usually number one or number two for everyone; across gender, geography, and demographics. 

Today we’re talking about facing the fear of death and navigating the end-of-life process because as it turns out, we are all going to die. All of us, every single one of us, and all the people that we love, too. Most of us already have faced death in our lives and yes, it can be scary. This is the stuff of the deepest emotion, which often makes us want to be in denial. But that’s not helpful, it’s not useful, and sometimes it’s not even true.  So if we can educate ourselves now so that we can face death and dying in the most lovely way, in the most beautiful way, connected way, what a wonderful goal. 

We have a guest this week who is phenomenal. Just phenomenal and surprising. She’s here to talk through this with us. We have Hadley Vlahos. She’s a nurse with a really interesting story and a compelling life purpose. She was raised strict and started questioning her own beliefs in high school after a friend’s sudden death. Then she got pregnant at 19 and was kind of shunned by her community, and she dropped out of college to enroll in nursing school thinking, “Well, I need to have a career to support me and this baby.” Then nursing became more than just a job for Hadley. It became truly not just a gift, but a calling because She chose to focus on palliative care and hospice care. 

Hadley wrote this beautiful, moving book called The End Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments, and she shared some incredible stories of people she’s worked with–her patients. You’ll see in our conversation today that she’s a gifted storyteller. So much so that when she started sharing her experiences on TikTok, she got something like 1.4 million followers paying attention who are intrigued by her journey and what she’s learned about end-of-life and end-of-life care. I loved this conversation today. It’s so beautiful and hopeful and calming and centering. Encouraging because yes, though death can be such a hard topic, one that we’re usually scared of, I think you’ll see today it has a lot to teach us about how to live, and maybe it’s not quite as scary as we thought. It could even be beautiful. Please enjoy this conversation with the lovely and darling Hadley Vlahos.




The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments
by Hadley Vlahos

Five Wishes


The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media,
presented by Audacy.

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