This story, donated by a music therapist, is about a dying Rasta whose pain is relieved by reggae music and drumming

This story, donated by a music therapist, is about a dying Rasta whose pain is relieved by reggae music and drumming

Tony was a 65-year-old Rastafarian who, on the basis of his beliefs, had refused conventional cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radio therapy. The course of alternative treatment he had put his faith in failed and with his prostate cancer now at an advanced stage beyond treatment, he found himself on one of hospice wards awaiting death. He was experiencing severe physical pain but was adamant that he did not wish any opiates or western medical painkillers to alleviate it....

Music and pain


The 20-week scan had revealed that our second baby would be a boy. The first phone call when we got home was to my mother-in-law, who I'd never met in person but I had felt her care and compassion through the text messages that we exchanged regularly....

 Loss and Distance  

I asked how they had come to meet and Joe recounted his time in a Polish prisoner of war camp where he was incarcerated for several years. During his time there he met a young Polish woman who was required to help the officer in charge as “slave labour”. This was said in a somewhat ironic tone of voice and I never clarified what was meant by this...

Joe and Irena 


I wrote this on Sunday 7th July 2013, sitting next to the bedside of my father, as is health became difficult and slowly deteriorated.  He passed away at dawn on 15th July 2013. At that point I was not by his side....

Stay a bit Longer

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I have a snapshot in my mind of standing inside a curtained cubicle in the A&E
department of a busy hospital early one morning. We, the hospital palliative care team, had come to see a woman from Kosovo with metastatic cancer. 


Joe came to see me in the outpatient clinic of the hospice for the first time in April.  He was in his 40's with metastatic gastric cancer.  Over several clinic appointments we were trying to sort out his pain and nausea.  Joe came from the Caribbean and had a strong wish to return there to die. 


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The person i have in mind is a African woman, aged 52.

She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and had a mastectomy and radio and chemotherapy here. She was then " lost to follow-up" and came back to hospital earlier this year, found to have widely spread cancer , secondary to the breast cancer.

Lost to follow-up

She was 29 years old, with metastatic breast cancer. She was from Russia and had been trafficked to the UK and worked in the sex industry. She didn’t disclose much information about her social circumstances but seemed socially isolated without family support. She had severe pain and existential distress…


Audio Stories 

Here are audio case stories of social pain and transnational dying, collected mainly from care professionals

Christina Faull - Palliative Care Consultant

Jonathan Koffman - Senior Research Fellow