Traversing temporalities at end-of-life: Mobilizing narratives with imagination and aesthetic sensibilities
We bring into focus the role of the imagination and aesthetics in narrative sensemaking, particularly as it informs end-of-life care, in this engaged and ethnographically-inspired research project. To begin, we detail a brief history of hospice and situate our work amid literature on storytelling and health communication. We then introduce readers to Grace Hospice’s Creatively-Inspired Experiences (CIEs), opportunities for patients and their family members to engage in artful interactions, which was integrated within volunteer services as means of offering care beyond basic measures for comfort and companionship. Motivated by curiosities about how storytelling arises and functions in contexts often characterized as the end, this project illustrates the capacity of storytelling to traverse the temporalities of life stories by transcending the challenges of relational connection and narrative continuation in hospice contexts. Specifically, findings suggest that narrative imagination and aesthetic sensibilities act as mobilizing resources, enabling stories to affect relationships by transcending chasms, nurturing mindfulness and presence, and cultivating legacies and tomorrows.
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