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.

Friday, April 15, 2016


     Sometimes the bereaved tend to go through stages that parallel those of the dying person.  This can take place both before and after the death of a loved one.  That is, those close to a dying person may pass through some form of denial as soon as they learn the person has a terminal disease.  "It can't be so, it can't be true that my husband is dying"  Then comes anger - at oneself, at the dying person, at the doctor, at the Fates.  There is also bargaining.  "Just give him a little more time, God." Then depression.  "I can't go on without him if he dies".  Finally - acceptance.
     After death the same stages present themselves also, although often in random patterns.  Denial is there, and certainly anger and depression.  Though it is too late for bargaining, that too may appear.  However, in the end, most people arrive at acceptance.  Just as it is healthy for a dying person to work through these stages, so it is for the survivors.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Not surprisingly, the emotional support we can bring a dying person is similar to those the living thrive on: compassion, patience, sincerity, and an honest interest in the person's welfare, thought, feelings, and opinions. Above all, you need to show faithfulness and perseverance - the promises that you will be there to the end. In this regard, it is often considered a helpful practice somewhere along the way to tell the dying person this quite directly: that you won't run out, that you can be depended on.
Basically, there are only two ways we can make a dying person comfortable: by assuring physical comfort; and by assuring psychological comfort. The former is fairly straight forward; the latter is a more subtle process. It is met only by constantly recalling the fact that someday the dying person in the bed will be you, and that every kindness you would wish for and need then, the patient wishes for and needs now.

Friday, March 25, 2016


    There are many different reasons for prearranging a funeral.  Some persons, especially those who are alone in the world, may want the assurance of a funeral and burial which meet their personal beliefs, standards, or lifestyle.  Others feel a responsibility to assist survivors by arranging approximate funeral and burial cost guidelines.  Others may have moved to distant places or maintain both summer and winter residences.  They may want to make sure that certain recommendations are heeded as to where the funeral and burial or other final dispositions will take place.
     There are as many explanations for prearranging funerals as there are people requesting them.  A few key considerations in preplanning may assist most people:  Take into account the possible effect on survivors.  If you are unsure, share your plans with them in advance.  Approach realistically the logic and economics of planning now for what might not take place for many years.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


     Contrary to what you may think, a funeral is for the living.  The deceased will never know what transpires, but it can be a source of great comfort to the deceased's relatives and friends.  It can be the first step on the road of recovery from grief.  After all, involvement in a funeral is a form of mourning.  It provides opportunities to mourn the loss of a loved one or friend in the presence of others who also will mourn the loss.  It gives one a time when family and friends can share stories about the deceased - even funny ones that may lighten the atmosphere with laughter.
     In talking with friends before or after the ceremony, one is likely to learn new things about this person who was important in life.  When friends or loved ones part in daily life, they usually say good-bye.  If they part without saying good-bye, and uncomfortable feeling usually ensures.  Saying good-bye is a way of saying, "I care about you" and funerals are occasions for saying good-bye.