A Different Side of Mom

The patient was a 60 year old female physician suffering from breast cancer with metastases to the lungs who had two children, a son age 29 and a daughter 27. The hospice chaplain had convened a family meeting to discuss the patient's wishes since both of the children had been away from home and had now moved back to care for their mother. The chaplain suggested they use the Go Wish cards as a segue into the discussion.

When the patient identified the things that were most important to her, her children were amazed. Since she was a doctor and also a scientist, the children said that they thought she would be more clinical about her selections and would pick the cards having to do with the nurse and/or doctor, being mentally aware or not being in pain. They were surprised that she chose cards having to do with emotions like human touch, helping others, keeping a sense of humor, having family near and not being a burden. They said this gave them a look at the emotional side to their mother, and they then felt more comfortable being able to express their own emotions about her dying. They had been afraid to hold her hand or tell her funny stories until the meeting with the cards. It opened up a whole new discussion for them about death and dying and life in general, and at the end of the discussion they all hugged.