Chapter 1: Exploring feelings while living with a serious diagnosis


I hope to see a beautiful sunrise tomorrow morning.

Feeling a sense of hope amid serious illness can be challenging. This often means redefining what hope means. Hope tends to shift as someone’s illness progresses. Perhaps the person who is ill and their family hope for a good day of visiting. Click the switch below for some perspectives on hope.

Family’s perspectivePatient’s perspective

Hope might be seen as something to maintain at all costs. There may be a fear that if hope is taken away the person will give up and die more quickly.

Sometimes well-meaning family members try to restrict information about the illness to maintain hope.

Hope for a cure may change to hope to live as long as possible.

Hope often centres on personal goals, such as wanting to live long enough to see a new grandchild or attend a family reunion.


Some families choose to withhold difficult information from the person who is ill in an effort to protect them. Despite this effort at protection, the person who is ill is often aware of the changes occurring in their body and may feel they have few people, if any, they can discuss their concerns with. This can be a very isolating experience for that person