POV: Seven Songs for a Long Life

About This Episode

As anyone coping with illness quickly discovers, support makes all the difference. Doctors and other staff at Strathcarron have been recognized for their exceptional abilities. This innovative hospice center offers day care that allows patients to continue to live at home. Staff work out complex schedules with hospitals, doctors and nurses to meet patients’ treatment and social needs, and the emphasis is on making life worth living, even in the grip of a lethal disease. As Mandy, the head nurse, says, “When people come to me and say they are dying, to me they are still living.” It is that emphasis on living, and living with delight, that may surprise viewers most.

Yet the pleasure and optimism on display don’t come easily. Seven Songs for a Long Life provides a heart-rending overview of everyday life at Strathcarron: getting false eyelashes to replace those that have dropped out due to chemotherapy, reviewing a will, inspecting a lock of hair from a long-ago first haircut, glancing at pictures from a youthful wedding and dealing with chronic pain.