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JourneyCare’s Dr. Dana Delach shares how ‘Vivo’ helps kids talk tough topics

As a pediatric hospice physician, I am always searching for ways to connect our JourneyCare patients and their families – and a film released this summer on Netflix called “Vivo” does this wonderfully.The movie tells the tale of a monkey named Vivo and his owner, Andrés, that spend their days delivering entertainment on the streets of Cuba with wonderful original music written by Lin Manuel Miranda.

Andrés receives a letter from his former partner Marta Sandoval, who is now a famous singer in Miami, Florida, inviting him to join her for her farewell concert. Sadly, Andrés falls ill and it is up to Vivo to carry on Andrés’ legacy.

Vivo encounters a young girl named Gabi who is also going through her own grief after the loss of her father. Gabi assists him in finding the famous Marta Sandoval to deliver an important, final message from his friend, Andrés.

I have found that this film is wonderful for helping families that ask, “How can I talk about death to children?” “How can I connect with my grandkids about my illness?” “What legacy do I leave for my family?” “What is a legacy?” This movie gives great conversation openings for our families and patients.

This movie also reminds me of the mission my JourneyCare colleagues and I share as hospice providers and some of the daily journeys we encounter – and some of the joy we strive to bring. Sometimes we find ourselves going to White Castle to get a cheeseburger, Wendy’s for a chocolate frosty, or we wait in line for 45 minutes at Portillo’s for a beef sandwich because a patient stated that is all they wanted for weeks. These are some of our crazy journeys and we go through them out of love for our patients. It is the compassion we have for them.

This movie will resonate with each care provider, too, as Vivo embarks on his crazy journey for Andrés.

On a personal note, after losing my own mother and having my father-in-law currently in hospice care, I understand how difficult it is to discuss these matters on a private level with our own children. I can attest that my children loved this movie. They gave it all thumbs up!

JourneyCare Pediatric Physician Dana Delach, M.D.