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The importance of quality palliative care gets overshadowed by our national debate over euthanasia or medically assisted death. There is a lack of understanding about what palliative care means and how it can help to ensure that we and those we love are able to make that journey to the end of life with dignity.
It started with a simple walk, but it became so much more. As part of the many services offered, the Vancouver Hospice Society runs a weekly Bereavement Walking Program for those who have recently los...
My mother is dying. When it got to be too much at home we put her in hospice. Hospice, for those who are not familiar with the term, is a place where folks go to die. The criteria to enter are you have three-six months left to live with an expectation of no heroic measures. The goal is comfort and dignity in your final days. My brother and I camp out in the room with my mom. Me in the Murphy bed and him on the Lazy Boy. We fall asleep listening to her whisper to herself and hallucinate on the shadows she makes with her hands. My mom had lung cancer and it progressed to her brain, so she is not safe to be alone anymore. She could fall. She could leave and get lost. She could take all her clothes off and run the halls naked. So we move in to the tiny room with her.
What Nancy Reagan called the long goodbye has, for me, come to an end. My beloved husband has died, peacefully, in his own home, surrounded by people who loved him. It was indeed, a long goodbye. Seven years spent with Alzheimer's. And a final year, playing hide and seek with death.