A Hospice for Dreams: The Power of Letting Go

I think there should be a hospice for dreams. Because some dreams need a safe place to let go.

If you’re going to hospice, you’re going to die. 

People who love you are going to help you get as comfortable as you can. It’s time to rest and reflect and say goodbyes. Not with frenzied terror, but with steady urgency and rich sense of purpose.


I saw a woman in home hospice as she neared the end. It was beautiful. Her loyal husband sat at her side, holding her fragile hand.  Over the course of days and hours, her adult children and grandchildren cycled through- bearing their stories and psalms, offering their blessings, thanks and tears. When she was ready, she left. With a tender smile, she weakly whispers, “I’m ready. You can let me go now.”


I saw a man avoid it. Just after he and his wife celebrated 50 years of marriage, on the eve of his entry to hospice, he took his life.


And nobody got to say goodbye.


Sometimes people in his shoes will say they’re going out on their own terms, that they’re sparing their loved ones the nightmare of a slow and painful passing. For him, hospice wasn’t a warmly lit passage from this life to the next. Not at all. It’s a dark abyss, a surrender to Death’s suffocating, snakelike coils.


If you’re breathing and over the age of sixteen, you’ve had dream trauma. Betrayal shredded a budding romance. One bad audition gouged aspirations to stardom. That one college rejection letter flattened hopes of graduating from your first choice school. Some dreams will die, even though they we don’t wish them to.


No, we don’t preemptively put them down. No, we don’t immediately surrender them when they’re first threatened. But some will suffer mortal wounds. Some will slowly succumb to decay. And part of the challenge of life is learning how and when to let them go. Maybe our dreams aren’t screaming in terror as they plummet to the earth. Maybe they’re not crippled fighter planes wrapped in flames, streaking down from the sky. Maybe, they’re the smiling elderly woman, propped up with pillows and surrounded with compassion. Maybe they weakly whisper “Thank you. I’m ready. You can let me go now.”




Craig Custance