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It’s terminal

I was a trainee GP sat in the living room of an elderly couple. They were in their 80s. I was 60 years their junior and equipped with the peculiar overconfidence that is the unique possession of the newly qualified. What I knew, but he didn’t, was that he had an inoperable stomach cancer. My task was to explain the diagnosis and tell him he was dying.

Pastoral care Steve Midgley
Figure Image
photo: iStock

I was, of course, anticipating a difficult conversation. What I hadn’t expected was that, when we got to it, the word death would get physically stuck in my throat. I stammered and stuttered and, somehow, we muddled on through. Death, it turned out, was very much easier to talk about in a Bible study than with a man who was actually dying.