Alex & Leila’s Story – Spiritual Care at the End of Life

Finding Purpose Through Spiritual Care: Alex & Leila’s Journey

Spiritual care is about safeguarding a person’s spirituality, and a person’s spirituality is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

Like many, Alex, a patient facing terminal cancer, was initially sceptical as he was unsure if spiritual care would be “too religious”. His views were changed when he and his partner, Leila, met Spiritual Care Worker Russell, whom they quickly formed a bond with.

The Power of Conversations

Russell provided a safe space where Alex and Leila could openly discuss heavy topics such as life, death, and grief. This nurturing space became an invaluable source of solace, redirecting their attention away from the weighty medical matters. After each chat, Alex and Leila found themselves more at peace and more energised.

From “Stuck in Bed” to Embracing Ambition

The sessions with Russell reinforced Alex’s belief that one’s end of life shouldn’t revolve around being bedridden. Instead, Alex went back to what he had always done, and for him, it was important that he continued to work.

Even if only for a few minutes a day, to keep achieving and to keep going filled Alex with purpose. His ambition wasn’t self-serving either; it was about making a positive impact on others. He believed in helping people and found immense joy in it. This philosophy fuelled his determination to create something meaningful for his community.

And so, Alex continued his mission to restore a disused paper mill in his hometown of Geelong into an arts precinct, a hefty task he felt he couldn’t have taken on without Russell’s calming influence. Alex admitted: “I couldn’t have done any of this by myself. You can’t do it yourself, it’s too big an area to be able to even just take the emotional side of what you go through.”

Engaging with Life Wholeheartedly 

By confronting the reality of death and engaging in open discussions with Russell, Alex and Leila discovered newfound strength to face the journey that lay ahead.

Remaining true to his life’s mission of serving others, Alex’s words will continue to inspire: “Just help people and you’ll get more out of it than you give. The more good you do the better it’s going to be. It’s just so easy to give and you get so much enjoyment out of it. I don’t know why people don’t understand that.”

You can also watch their journey here.

Special thanks to Alex and Leila for graciously sharing their story. In memory of Alex Robins.