Dreamscaping in End of Life Care

A new creative practice, Dreamscaping, is addressing the needs of End-of-Life families at home and in vigil by offering the patient and family members “a picture of a memory you have, or wish you had.”  In the Interview/Brainstorming Phase, a memory artist teases out long-forgotten joys and regrets. In the Creation Phase, magical thinking – by all present and willing – produces a storytelling narrative that is jotted down, and then later, visualized by the memory artist (in Photoshop as a digital photomontage). This involves re-contextualizing family photos into a physical dreamscape – which pre- or post-loss can be shared in campaigns (virtually in Facebook/email, or literally, say, imprinted on a T-shirt).  Designed to re-energize the patient and the bereaved, dreamscapes fill us with newfound purpose, hope and a call to action. The case studies shown here each reflect the original photos (provided by the family or patient) and the Dreamscape made for siblings, parents, children, partners, or in the last two, for the patients themselves.

DAHIAN had his baby son's name tattooed on his arm before he became ill with a disfiguring oral cancer. His doctors thought he wouldn't live more than 48 hours after Dahian entered hospice, yet he lived a month, and was considered by all, "a warrior".