Joan is a long-time patient of mine in her late 70s with advanced-stage lung cancer.
One rainy day, I was dreading her appointment because we had all just learned that Joan was being transitioned to hospice and this would be our last visit.
When I entered the room I found Joan sitting with Matthew, her eight-year-old great-grandson. To my surprise, Joan was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes.
I looked at her and asked, “What’s going on?” She explained that Matthew was reading her a book about dinosaurs and paused at a word he didn’t know: “E-x-t-i-n-c-t, ex – tinct, extinct. What does that mean?” he asked as he sounded out the word.
Joan said it means that every one of the dinosaurs died long ago and are gone forever.
Matthew innocently looked at Joan with his sincere big brown eyes and said, “Oh, you must miss them!”
Key Point: Sometimes humor can diffuse a stressful situation when you least expect it. On this gloomy day, Matthew unknowingly provided a much-needed laugh for his great grandmother and even her lung doctor.