Am I Dying? A Child’s Question

What would you say if a terminally-ill child asks the question? Should you be honest, probing, or try to convince her this is just a passing illness? The decision may be dictated by parental preferences or institutional policies. But what if there’s latitude in what you can say, or the moment is so pregnant with a child’s concern you don’t have time to consult with anyone? As with most things in hospice, there isn’t a right or wrong answer—just different ones.

Searching For Healing

There is an old story told of a young monk seeking enlightenment. He would sit meditating for long periods of time, waiting for it to engulf him. A teacher, watching him for weeks, sat down next to him and grabbed a piece of broken pottery. Without looking at the student or saying anything, he placed the chard in his lap and began rubbing it with a filthy cloth.

You’ve Got It!

It was Monday, May 27, 2002 and the morning fog was clearing. Sitting in my kitchen drinking a cup of coffee, I watched the Pacific become visible. It would be a great day. Then the phone rang. “Good morning Stan”, my doctor said, “the results are positive.”

A Bean Hollow Goodbye

A gray on gray Pacific coast morning begins as new yellow flowers push from beneath scarlet ice plant fingers, and a mother says goodbye to her son’s ashes.