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Updated: Mar 28, 2022

Catherine, a 40 year old woman, primary school teacher, wife and mother to four year old son Sam. Catherine was living with stage 4 colon cancer.

Catherine was supported in her home by the Hospice Outreach Team for 9 months. The team provided pain and symptom management for both her physical and emotional needs. Catherine’s son Sam and husband Nick were also provided psychosocial support throughout their journey.

Catherine tried as best she could to maintain a sense of “normal” for her family, but mothering from a recliner chair is a difficult task. Sam knew his Mom couldn’t get on the floor and play with him because it made her “hurt too much”. He also knew she couldn’t take him across the street to the park because her legs “didn’t work right”. Sam was often seen sitting with his Mom in her chair as they coloured or read together.

As months went on and Catherine began to decline further she moved to a hospital bed set up in the family dining room. Soon after Sam began asking his Dad, “Will Mommy would be dead in the morning?”

Sam said that scared him. This is when Catherine decided to live out the final weeks of her life in a residential hospice. She wanted her 4 year old son’s memories of home to be of life and living not dying and death.

Catherine died 6 weeks before Christmas with her husband and family at her side, while Sam was in the hospice playroom being supported by supportive care staff. Sam didn’t want to see his Mommy dead, but drew a picture of him and Mom playing outside. Sam said it was for Mommy to take to Heaven with her.

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