"Our soul must perform two duties. The one is that we must reverently wonder and be surprised. The other is that we must gently let go and let be." Julian of Norwich

...Cancer teaches both!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hospice Care - Some Wise Words

Brooks is a friend, and fellow semi-colon, I met through the American Cancer Society Cancer Survivors Network (CSN).  He has many years of working with people in "hospice" care.  Brooks has a wonderful capacity to translate his experience of life into a wisdom that both consoles and inspires us.   He recently had this to say regarding "hospice" care...

"People who choose hospice are not giving up hope, they are in fact redefining it. Though there may no longer be a possibility of curing their illness, they redirect their hope into mending and restoring relationships, spending quality time with those they love, and finding peace and comfort.

Choosing hospice doesn't mean choosing death, it means choosing to live life to the fullest. Usually once someone has chosen hospice, they have been through a lot already. Multiple hospital admissions, chemotherapy and radiation, and invasive tests and treatments can leave patients feeling sick and tired. By choosing hospice, they have decided to focus on the quality of their lives rather than on the quantity.

I've seen many people who have chosen hospice use their time, once consumed by doctors appointments and hospital stays, to take family vacations, travel to places they've always wanted to see, and enjoy the company of loved ones at home. These aren't people who have given up hope or given up on life. These are people who are living life to the fullest."

What Brooks shares also resonates with my own pastoral experience.

A particular challenge for the person living in the advanced stages of cancer is, “knowing when to let go”. It seems to me that in the cancer journey there is a time to fight the "dragon" with all of the weapons we can muster. I've also seen that there can come a time when it's helpful to "let go", so that the final stage can be one of peace and dignity and not one of prolonged pain and suffering.

"Letting go" is not giving up. Death is not defeat or failure. It’s not about winning or losing, but rather about accepting the very imminent reality of our mortality. My experience has been that when the terminally ill reach the place of "letting go" a deep peace follows for the individual, their family, and their friends. Discerning the time of this transition is deeply personal and needs to be respected by caregivers and family alike.

Peace and blessings... Rob; in Vancouver

"When I find myself in times of trouble mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be."
The Beatles


Robin Pollock said...

Very good Rob. As usual thank you for your insight.


Daria said...

What a great post! Thanks.