He had loved cricket since he was a kid, had played it into early adulthood, but became a spectator once his own kids arrived. Whenever there was a Black Caps game on it was a family tradition to gather around the TV. Potato Chips and the famous Kiwi Onion Dip would materialise. A packet of Maggi Onion soup mixed with a can of Nestle Reduced Cream. The ultimate mix of flavours, salty, savoury, creamy, with a satisfying crunch covering most of the important Kiwi bloke food groups. Not so good for the waistline or the body in general, but so, so good for the soul. Today would be different, he wasn’t at home. He had been admitted into the hospice inpatient unit yesterday.Continue reading
It had been a great game of football, they had managed to successfully complete a number of moves that they had been practising for weeks. He was proud of the fact that the ball was always safe, in his arms.
The post-match party was a happy and raucous affair, a swirl of colours and noise, but everything seemed to stop, when she walked into the room.
Their eyes met across the crowded space, everyone else became invisible and they instantly fell in love. Soon she was, in his arms.
Fast-forward 23 years to an admission into our family room. Again a swirl of colours and noise as they settled into the room with their seven children, and their children’s children.
Early on in their relationship they had reflected on their own upbringing, having being raised by their grandparents, they made a pact that they would raise their own kids themselves.
And they did so over the next 22 years which were filled with joy.
She had become unwell over the past year, needing many trips to clinics and hospital for many treatments and even more disappointments. Always supported by their family who stayed strong around them.
It had taken a lot of convincing to allow Hospice into their lives – he was scared of them – but the fears were soon allayed by the visiting staff.
Barely three weeks ago she had organised a family trip up North, just them and their four youngest children. “She knew that her time was short, and that was her preparing me.”
During the weekend, he had shared, “Thank you for providing this large room for us, it has allowed me to be the husband again, and the father to my kids, we can be ourselves again.”
There were many visitors over the weekend and into the new week.
On the very last night the couple were together, peacefully in bed, surrounded by the love from all their kids sleeping on the floor around them.
Coming back from the bathroom on the final morning, held up in his arms, “I think it’s my time to go.”
Gently back to bed, still in his arms.
Feeling safe, surrounded by the best things in the world, their kids and grand-kids.
She leaned back, in his arms, and then quietly left the room.
“She was looking after us all, right until the very end, giving us the strength to carry on walking tall.”
Living every moment when you’re dying
In New Zealand last week we celebrated Hospice Awareness Weak and to tell you the truth I’m not sure how impactful the week actually was. Continue reading
Here is a copy of my slides from the Keynote presentation that I made on 16/09/16 at the Hospice New Zealand 2016 Conference.
I was intentionally being provocative and I was purposefully trying to challenge the audience’s mindset with the material that I presented, as I believe that New Zealand Hospice/Palliative Care needs to be “shaken up,” if it is to remain relevant. Now it’s your turn, you have been warned…
I am working on a version which will have clickable links, and also on a recorded live performance of the presentation. In the meantime the slides with comments have been loaded onto the Palliverse Instagram account.
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a global day of action organised by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance and held on the second Saturday of October every year. It aims to:
- Raise awareness of the needs of people and families living with a life-limiting illness
- Create opportunities to talk about the issues around improving access to hospice and palliative care around the world
- Raise funds to develop and support hospice and palliative care services around the world
The theme this year is “Hidden Lives, Hidden Patients” – focusing on people whose palliative care needs are often not recognised, such as children, indigenous people, those living in rural settings, prisoners, soldiers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals.
To help to raise awareness about “Hidden Lives, Hidden Patients”, Palliverse and Palliative Care Australia invite everyone to join us for a tweet chat on Thursday, October 8th using the hashtag #PallANZ Continue reading