Friday, October 12th was the global World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. I don’t imagine you heard much about it in the news, did you? I’m not exactly surprised by this, but it does dishearten me a bit. Now granted, you can find a ‘day’ dedicated to just about anything (there’s even a National Peanut Butter and Jelly day), so in some ways I understand why another ‘day’ didn’t make huge headlines. But the fact is that not nearly enough attention is paid to the importance of hospice and palliative care in the media, and I think any opportunity to do so should be taken.
I think the crux of the issue as to why the day went under so many people’s radar is that as a society, we tend to cringe at the sound of words like ‘hospice’ and ‘palliative’. We view the end of life as something to dread, and we’re fearful of anything associated with it—many find it upsetting. We have been conditioned to think of only the negative aspects surrounding the end of a life.
Hospice and palliative care are about celebrating the life that was and is. And while we must mourn and grieve, we do no honour to our loved ones by failing to acknowledge everything that their life was. The end of life should find one surrounded by love and joy, not misery. And so World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is not about a day of sadness, but a day where we recognize that every life lived deserves an ending filled with beauty, love, and peace.