Praise for end-of-life care

“My mother passed away in 2013 and when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer it was really important for our family that he move in with us.“

When Sonia Di Mezza’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer he moved in with her family in Canberra. Sonia shares her reflections on the last stages of her father’s life and the palliative care services provided by Clare Holland House. 

In our society in Australia, what I’ve noticed is people are afraid of being present when a loved one is dying. 

In my own Italian culture, although it is a sad time, I have found that we are not as confronted by the passing of a loved one. When we took dad into our home, although we were very saddened that our father was dying, we found the time we spent with our father in his last days to be a comforting experience. Right up to his dying day in 2019 we were able to give him culturally appropriate care and food surrounded by his family and loved ones.

But we realised we couldn’t look after Dad alone and called Clare Holland House for help. They were brilliant, so supportive. They’d come, they’d help out, working alongside me as they organised his medications. They were not an intrusion at all. 

When the funeral parlour came to take his body away, we actually felt this gust of wind. Even though it was a beautiful sunny day, it was like the Spirit, you know, telling us all was good.

So those last days don’t have to be scary days. It could be a loving, comforting time – albeit sad – because it’s saying goodbye to someone you love. The thought of having someone pass away in the house doesn’t need to be a confronting experience either.

Clare Holland House was just a welcome addition to that part of our journey.

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