Thursday, July 21, 2016


     A child should be allowed to remain a child even if there has been a tragic loss in the family.  Of course, when someone in the family dies, everyone else has to pitch in and assume some of the tasks and responsibilities that the deceased once had.  However, don't make a ten-year old or even a fourteen-year-old be the "mommy" or the "man of the house".  They should know that more is expected of them in terms of household chores, but they should know that it is okay to be ten or fourteen.  The experience will have helped them mature a lot, anyway.  Don't force it further by denying them the opportunity to still be a child.
     Don't be afraid to talk about the deceased with your child,and let them share memories.  Let children know that it is good to remember people after death, that we can treasure the lessons and joy they brought us for all our lives.  Even the process of sharing these insights will foster a closer relationship among the survivors.

Friday, July 8, 2016


     Almost everyone experiences some degree or guilt when a person close to them dies.  Most guilt feelings are not based on fact, but grieving persons don't always think very clearly.  Many guilt feelings relate to things people feel they should have done or said while the loved one was alive - a promised trip, a letter unsent, a word of love left unspoken.  The feeling is that the deceased left the world unaware of those feelings or was disappointed with the grieving survivor.
     This type of guilt feeling is practically useless.  It will not bring back the deceased.  There will not be another opportunity to correct the situation.  Guilt is a wasteful expenditure of emotional energy.  However, knowing that doesn't necessarily make guilt any easier to deal with.  The lesson for us all is to do and say NOW those things that are important so that someday we won't have to be sorry for not having done and said them.

Monday, June 20, 2016


     For many families, planning for funerals is not a subject that comes up easily.  Many people die unexpectedly, making the subject academic.  The question then is what kind of a funeral should a person choose when the last wishes of the deceased are not known?
     Communication can be the key.  Discuss the matter with friends and relatives.  Perhaps someone does recall the deceased having made some comments, even humorous, about the kind of funeral and interment he or she would have liked.
     What were the tastes and tendencies of the deceased?  Would he or she have wanted a lavish funeral?  Would he or she have enjoyed having many people attend or just a few close friends?  Would flowers be appropriate?  How about religious conviction and affiliation?  Then make your decision as best you can, based on your knowledge of the deceased, and let the matter rest without guilt or second thoughts.

Friday, June 10, 2016


     Sometimes the loss of a loved one can bring most overwhelming pain, the kind that can barely be endured.  It may seem impossible to ever really recover from that loss, and yet most people do.  Unless the grief becomes pathological or obsessive, somehow it does abate.  No matter how intense, no matter how many mornings one wakes up feeling as depressed as the day before, time will come when the pain eases.
     Of course, the sadness never disappears entirely, not if the person was much cherished.  It is hard to imagine the parents of a deceased child ever ceasing to feel sorrow for their loss.  It is hard to imagine how the survivor of a happy marriage could ever stop missing the lost mate, no matter how many years they are separated by death.  Most of us, however, do come to terms with bereavement pain and do reach an ACCOMMODATION with grief.  We may never forget the loss, but we can recall it with some equanimity.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


     After the death of a loved one, feelings can often be ambivalent.  That is grief.  There may also be some sense of relief.  Whether the relief comes from the feelings that the loved one is no longer suffering, from not having to witness that suffering, or from not having to care for the person any longer, such reactions are human and natural.
     However, most people don't see it that way.  They feel guilty about these natural feelings.  Could they have really loved the person if one part of them feel relieved by the death?  They may blame themselves for not having done more, for having uttered some cross words, for not having been at the person's side more.
     Self-blame is a no-win deal.  No matter what miracles of caring or nurturing the bereaved may have performed for the deceased, there will ALWAYS be gaps in the record and hence room for self-doubts.  The more a survivor broods on what might have been, the worse things get psychologically.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


     During the period of mourning, people suffer from physical problems which could also be considered as "psychosomatic".
     Physical side effects of mourning can include a number fo possible ailments, ranging from headache attacks to asthma, fatigue, indigestion, constipation, impotency, skin rashes, shortness of breath, dizziness, weight loss, fainting spells, palpitation, tightness in the chest, loss of appetite, nausea, ect.  More serious diseases can also be linked to bereavement, especially when the bereavement is intense.
     Can anything be done about this?  It is sound policy for a person who is grieving to seek frequent medical checkups; to get extra sleep, rest, and exercise; to eat well; to maintain social contacts; and to be kind to oneself.  Remember: the grieving person IS more physically and emotionally fragile than usual.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


     The Hospice Movement was started in 1948 at St. Christopher's Hospice in London.  A hospice can be either a separate institution or a section of a hospital where special care is provided for dying patients, ensuring that they spend their last days quietly, productively, painlessly, and lovingly attended to.
     A friendly, non -institutional atmosphere is encouraged, and nurses and doctors are dedicated to providing patient-oriented services.  In some hospices, patients live in private rooms decorated to their tastes and furnished with their own belongings; while others prefer to be in their own home.  In others, patients spend much of their time commuting back and forth between hospice and home.  In any hospice, visiting hours are open, friends and family are encouraged to come at any time, and visits from children, whatever their age, are heartily welcomed.  The goal is to make the experience of dying as serene, dignified, and supportive as possible.