The new TV series Time of Death (Fridays, 8:00 p.m. St. Louis time on Showtime) presents a close-up look at the dying process. In the debut episode on November 1, we meet Maria, a 48-year-old single mother of three, who is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. We also meet Michael, a divorced man also in his 40’s who suffers from an aggressive cancer that takes him down quickly.
Death is a topic that typically causes us to avert our eyes and our thoughts. This program may be difficult to watch, but it reveals good insight for those with loved ones who have had a terminal diagnosis.
In the case of these two patients, we see the survivors-to-be fearing the future as much as the person facing death. Maria’s older daughter Nicole is 25. Maria’s younger children are another daughter, 15, and a son, 14. Maria wants Nicole to have custody of her younger half-siblings. Maria tries to spare her kids the bad news of test results but they know the outcome will not be a good one.
Michael’s mother and dad are his caregivers. His mother speaks of being especially concerned about her husband’s being able to deal with the death of their son. It is painfully obvious that the mother will also be devastated.
Michael’s story shows a compassionate hospice nurse talking to him and caring for him. She also is given the opportunity to speak directly to the camera. As his final hours and minutes approach, we see Michael’s first ex-wife holding his hand and providing comfort at the end of his life.
Over the course of the six-part weekly series, viewers will follow Maria as she moves closer to death. (The program begins with Nicole making a call to report her mother’s passing before flashing back several months to Maria and her active life.) Viewers will meet others facing death.
Time of Death may cause you to cry. But by observing patients and families going through the end-of-life process, we can prepare for what we all may face down the road.
If you have questions about hospice and end-of-life care, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-8400.