Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)
Intimacy, Sexuality and End-of-Life Illness Experience: Patient, Partner and Health Care Provider Perspectives
The purpose of this study was to explore and understand the lasting impact of compassion from strangers. Eight participants graciously shared their experience of a period of suffering, the unexpected compassion they received from a stranger, and the lasting impact it had on them. Six people participated in a single interview with the researcher and two participants chose to write letters to describe their experience. Each interview was transcribed. An arts-based methodology was used. I approached the study as an a/r/tographer, utilizing poetic inquiry, photography, contemplative spaces and life-writing as ways to explore, describe, and understand the multi-faceted experiences of the participants. The compassion of strangers was unexpected and had a lasting impact on the participants. It broadened their perspectives about strangers, helped build feelings of gratitude, and positively altered their sense of self. Inherent in the eight experiences were threads of suffering, compassion, unexpectedness, interconnectedness, gratitude, and self.