Tag Archives: Palliative Care

My conversation with a man whose wife died by assisted suicide

The other day I met a man whose wife had died by assisted suicide earlier this year. We sat beside each other on an airplane and struck up conversation, as people do. We discovered we were both writers of a sort, and that was our starting point.

I don’t really remember how it came up, but I must have asked him about his wife. He was an elderly man and something he said made me think he was widowed fairly recently. Then he told me this really enormous thing: that his wife had fought cancer for years and had entered a new, final phase of not winning the fight anymore and so she had chosen assisted suicide about four months ago, with his support.

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This seemed like a huge disclosure, a big, sad, tragic thing to share. I don’t know if the ease of his disclosure is a statement about how writers tend to go deep quickly with each other, or maybe it’s more a statement about the potential “ordinariness” of what we are now doing in Canada, by having assisted suicide.

Or, maybe, he was just sad and it was recent and so he blurted it out to a stranger. Then, almost right after he told me, this kind, quiet man asked me what kind of writing I do.

So, I told him I wrote mostly about faith things, and religious things, and that my husband is a minister. I’m not sure why I added that bit about my husband, but I think I said it because I wanted to assure him that I understood grief, and he was clearly grieving.
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How Music Tends and Heals in Palliative Care

Faith Today recently printed a story called “Gently into the arms of Jesus” which touched on the urgent need for improved palliative care in Canada. We invited a specialist in one particular and unique corner of the creative possibilities in palliative care to share on the FT blog. 

by Sarah Pearson

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Music has a role to play in palliative care, says practitioner Sarah Pearson.

In end-of-life and palliative medicine, strong relationships are the central element to providing excellent care. Getting to know the patient – their interests, desires, fears, and values – and building trust with them, is any palliative practitioner’s first step.

As a music therapist working in end-of-life care, I am fascinated by how music can support and strengthen relationships at the end-of-life.

Music always happens in relationship – a relationship between performer and audience, or between performing musicians, or within a community or family, or within a relationship with oneself and one’s sense of beauty and meaning. The rehearsing choir or jazz quartet will experience music in relationship to each other; the father singing a lullaby to his infant child will experience music in relationship to his suckling audience; the guitar-playing songwriter composing by herself one quiet night will experience music in relationship to her beliefs, values and views of the world.
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Asking the Right Questions of the Right People on Your Behalf

Click the cover image to read the Mar/Apr 2014 issue.

It was right down to the wire to schedule the interview with Ambassador Andrew Bennett of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. He was travelling the week before our interview and committed to a busy schedule after that, but he graciously made time for us just before our deadline.

As his newly created government position reached its first anniversary, we thought it important to check in to see how the work is going. Religious freedom is something Evangelicals watch carefully, even in Canada – maybe especially in Canada.

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