The director, Peter Marrocco, took time from his busy schedule to drop by my father’s room to talk with me and discuss our first day with a respite person. It turns out we didn’t need her because my father died later that day. But Peter unwittingly provided help by giving me a pamphlet about the stages of dying so I knew what to expect and what was normal. More significantly, he called our time with my father as he died “Sacred time.” That is a phrase that changed our vigil but also my perspective on caregiving, palliative care and dying. So much so that it is a phrase that has become a part of my writing and speaking about my experience with Alzheimer disease.
On Sunday May 5 my mother and I are leading a church service in Nova Scotia, where we now live, and in honour of the week my reflection is about palliative care and is titled “Sacred Time.”