Palliative ‘self-care’ group

Staring death in the face, friends tell stories – while they can still be told.

Palliative ‘self-care’ group

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Palliative ‘self-care’ group continues his series of true short stories and observations titled Aspects of Ageing.


About 11am every second Wednesday, my partner drives me to Dave’s house and then goes out with his wife June.

Dave is dying of cancer. I am, so far, just wearing out with old age but I write stories and Dave has so many to tell.

He talks. I listen, ask questions and we discuss what I have written since our previous meeting.

It is great to see how Dave gets fired up and I get quite carried away, too. He has so many fascinating stories to tell of his life as a cane grower.

Every other Wednesday, we both get dropped off at Clarrie’s place. Clarrie also has terminal cancer and is in a palliative care hostel.

For many years he was a shearer and then moved up (or was it down?) to a second career as an SP bookie! We don’t believe all his stories, but they are all worth listening to.

We have all agreed to do what we can to keep a small group going even after one of us ‘drops off our twig’.


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing.

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.



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