Photo: Mary Koziol, Facebook
Photo: Mary Koziol, Facebook

Mary Koziol

McGill University

Class of 2018

I am not ready to die. But I am not afraid of death.

I’m waiting for my preceptor in the lobby of a palliative care residence, surrounded by several classmates. We are overheating in our winter gear, making small talk, passing around breath mints. A feeling of anticipation about the impending visit swirls amidst a number of other emotions – anxiety for the upcoming renal exam, annoyance at the erratic nature of Montreal’s winters. I find myself making conversation, but in that disengaged way reflective of a head and heart that are elsewhere. It is the first time I have been in a hospice since she died. My heart patters a nervous thrum, diffusing a light shakiness throughout my body. Dr. P arrives and guides us upstairs, settling us into a comfortable but overly warm room. I like her immediately, as I do with most palliative care doctors. There tends to be a certain kind of presence and wisdom that emanates from any person who has elected to accompany fellow humans on the final leg of their journey. She briefly introduces herself and the aim of the day’s session, and then inquires: have any of you had experiences with hospice or palliative care?

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