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May 8, 2016

Choosing Hospice: The Death and Last Months of Maureen O'Neill
PictureBoston, a Photo-Journalism blog by Mark Garkinkel

Maureen O’Neill, friend, cancer victim and Hospice of the North Shore patient died 13 years ago Monday, on May 9, 2003. In January 2003, I contacted the Danvers-based hospice now known as Care Dimensions about the possibility of following the life and trials of one of their patients. They introduced me to Danvers resident Maureen O’Neill.

I spent the majority of my time with Maureen, at her house and beyond, from the time she returned home from Salem Hospital to the moment of her death. 

I often think about the first time I met Maureen.

In order for this project to go forward, Maureen insisted on meeting with me first and seeing some of my photography work. I brought my photo portfolio to Salem Hospital, just a few days before she was to be released to the peaceful confines of her home. Maureen chose to bypass chemotherapy to die at home with her 92- year-old mother at her side.  

One of the first photos in that portfolio was a mother duckling and her babies crossing a busy street in Waltham. Maureen loved the photo as she was a huge bird lover. We hit it off from that moment forward.

The following photos (see above link) are dedicated to Maureen’s loyal friends and family, Care Dimensions, and most of all, Maureen, who wanted to show the benefits and dignity of dying at home.

 


Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.