SCARBOROUGH — During end-of-life care, some families and individuals grapple with resentments and regrets about what could have been and what will never be.

Hospice of Southern Maine wants to bring people together to navigate life’s final chapter through the lens of resilience and community support.

The 9th annual Anne L. Hunter Memorial Thresholds Conference, set for May 9 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, aims to provide both caregivers and those with fatal illnesses the tools necessary to confront the topics of death and mortality. The event is split into three sessions about resilience, caregiving, and relationships at the end of life by individuals who have experienced it firsthand.

“Resilience is the ability to straighten when we’ve been bent, and that’s what this conference is all about,” said Hospice of Southern Maine chaplain Larry Greer, who will also speak at the event about his experience helping people during hospice. “How do you find resilience and maintain it?”

Greer said he works with patients and families who have unresolved conflict or remorse, and that relationships at the end of life are not always healed. He said while it’s important for families and their loved ones to work on finding resolutions, it’s not always possible.

“There might have been words said years ago that parties feel remorse about but haven’t come together to heal it before one’s end of life,” he said. “But just being able to listen, to talk about, to acknowledge our own death and morality, that’s what is important.”


Keynote speaker Scott Simon, an award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” will share conversations he had with his mother at the end of her life. The lessons learned from his experience offer valuable insight into how to approach discussions around death’s imminence.

“Our family knows the importance of compassionate, understanding care at the end of our lives. We have known this care with both my mother and mother-in-law,” Simon said in a press release. “… I’m pleased to be able to speak at the Anne L. Hunter Memorial Thresholds Conference about how this care can enhance the lives of both those who leave us, and those who go on with loss.”

Daryl Cady, CEO of Hospice of Southern Maine, said the conference is part of an ongoing outreach effort to educate the community. She said the Threshold event is sold out, but the conversation revolving around end-of-life decisions will continue in a series of free community forums set to take place in Portland, Kennebunk and Scarborough in fall 2019.

“We recognize that the caregivers, in addition to providers, are an intricate part of the team to stay strong and resilient,” she said. “The Thresholds Conference connects them with others who have had similar experiences, and the community forums will do the same.”

Krysteana Scribner can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9094. Follow her on Twitter: @krysteana2016.

Scott Simon, an award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” is set to speak at the Thresholds Conference on May 9 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

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