communication, end-of-life, grief, hope, qualitative analysis



  1. Holmberg, Lena PhD


This article reports on a case study. The author is the mother of a son, who was 36 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. Her experiences during the son's year of illness are analyzed. The son's denial as a coping strategy and as a condition for hope to survive is discussed. The mother did not believe there was a cure for her son. Their different scenarios of hope severely affected their communication for some time. A palliative home care team was involved in the son's care in the terminal phase of his illness. The team supported the son in his denial and the mother in her hopelessness. When the son, through gentle guidance from the palliative home care team, finally realized that he was dying, he stopped denying and took control over his last days. The communication between him and his mother again was open, close, and warm and the mother and son could share their grief.