During a pandemic lockdown full of pyjama dance parties, life talks, and final goodbyes, a family helps a father die with dignity.
In April 2020, journalist Mitchell Consky received bad news: his father was diagnosed with a rare and terminal cancer, with less than two months to live. Suddenly, he and his extended family — many of them health care workers — were tasked with navigating the distance of the Covid-19 pandemic with a family-based approach to end-of-life care. The result was a home hospice during the first lockdown. Suspended within the chaos of medication and treatments were dance parties, episodes of Tiger King, and his father’s many deadpan jokes.
Leaning into his journalistic intuitions, Mitchell interviewed his father daily, audio recording final talks, emotional goodbyes, and the unexpected laughter that filled his father’s final days. Serving as a catalyst for fatherly affection, these interviews became an opportunity for emotional confession during the slowed-down time of a shuttered world — and reflect how far a family went in making a dying loved one feel safe at home.
About the author
Mitchell Consky is a journalist with works published in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Walrus, and BNN Bloomberg. He specializes in long-form feature writing and essays about loss, travel, and adventure. When not working, his ideal escape is drifting on a canoe in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. He lives in Toronto.