Palliative Care for Newbies…


I am standing in the place where people go to finish their lives  – palliative care they call it.  I am fascinated by the concept of “palliative” – it means



(of a treatment or medicine) Relieving pain or alleviating a problem without dealing with the underlying cause.

This place is not meant for healing – they keep reminding me. People that come here are not meant to leave here.   It’s strange to think of my mother in this way – the one who will not leave.  I find myself continuously adjusting to the reality of our basic impermanence. And though they may try to deny it, there is a great deal of healing happening here.  You can feel it, like a good smell of fresh grass in the air, people are clearing their hearts.  They are focused on what is REALLY important right now – this is a no-bullshit zone. I watch as they mill about the gentle pond – everyone seems to take their turn at the edge, staring down into the activity of small green frogs leaping valiantly from one lotus pad to another.  The flowers in full bloom seem unreal – almost artificial.  Their colours are extraordinary. This place is full of generosity of spirit. I notice that there are very few ego’s present in deep grief.  And I don’t find any fear here either – fear was something that happened at the beginning – and over time it resigns itself to acceptance. I am warmed by a sense of reliance and trust that seems to come from even people I just walk by and have never met. 

Laughter emanating from the kitchen snaps me back into reality and a moment of wonder – humans are really quite amazing.

We are all walking through the stages of grief – together and apart.  It’s a very personal journey – one you can only share a little bit of.  The rest happens inside of you in a place not meant for sharing. And no two people will enter and exit the process in the same way.

There are amazing things to be found inside and out through this experience.  I find the deeper I enter it, the more I feel like I am just watching it and so far the love and compassion and just good humanness I have experienced and seen throughout this process – has not ceased to amaze me.

We are all going there – in some way at some time.  I am greatly reassured by what I am experiencing as I see the happy and content look in my mother’s eyes, the calming of my frantic family who have been caring for her for two years now – the “defrosting” of emotions long held in check because there was simply no room or time for it. I get it – and its all ok. Not easy, very painful – but ok.

It’s my mother that taught me this kind of acceptance and trying to find the good in all the bad things that will inevitably happen to all of us. Everyone WILL get sick, Will get old and they will die.  Being ok with the process of how this occurs I suppose is the best we can ask for in dealing with the experience.



4 thoughts on “Palliative Care for Newbies…

  1. The most important of all this is how much both of you are loved. I’m very proud to be your husband. Your honest sharing, beliefs, courage, patience and tireless love are inspiring to me. You have all the support you need too. Xoxo


  2. Joseeee,
    You have a wonderful way with words. I’m truely sorry about your mom, but it sounds like she is finding peace. I give you strength and hugs during this journey my friend.
    I love you.


  3. My wife and I just went through this with her sister, who left the planet on July 5 from her last home in St. Francis Hospice in Syracuse. I love your description. I felt many of the same things you talk about when I visited her. Thanks for putting it into words, rainbo.


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