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Being me and being us in a family living close to death at home

Journal title
Qualitative health research
Publication year
Carlander, I.; Ternestedt, B. M.; Sahlberg-Blom, E.; Hellstrom, I.; Sandberg, J.

We used interpretive description to describe how everyday life close to death was experienced and dealt with in families with one member who had a life-threatening illness. We performed 28 individual, couple, and group interviews with five families. We found two patterns, namely, "being me in a family living close to death" and "being us in a family living close to death." "Being me" meant that every individual in the family had to deal with the impending death, regardless of whether or not he or she was the person with the life-threatening illness. This was linked to ways of promoting the individual’s self-image, or "me-ness." This pattern was present at the same time as the pattern of "being us," or in other words, being a family, and dealing with impending death and a new "we-ness" as a group. "Striving for the optimal way of living close to death" was the core theme.

Research abstracts