Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Patton Oswalt: ‘I’ll Never Be at 100 Percent Again’ - The New York Times

"Grief is an attack on life. It’s not a seducer. It’s an ambush or worse. It stands right out there and says: ‘The minute you try something, I’m waiting for you.’”"

Patton Oswalt: ‘I’ll Never Be at 100 Percent Again’ - The New York Times:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water (Yeats)

I heard the old, old men say
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'

Coffin painting – an inspiring story – Kicking the Bucket Festival

"We’d like a plain white cardboard coffin, so we can paint it,” we said, when handed a catalogue of satin lined heavy wooden caskets at the undertakers. “We need a mix of poems, songs and stories, from every tradition, yes, the Kaddish, yes ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,’ yes to Elizabeth Bishop, Bob Dylan, Shakespeare. A big yes to flowers!"

Coffin painting – an inspiring story – Kicking the Bucket Festival:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Children Don’t Always Live

After the very worst pain there is, a bereaved father dares to love again.

"I have become a father to a living child and a spirit — one child on this side of the curtain, and another whispering from beneath it. The confusion is constant, and in my moments of strength I succumb to it. I had a child die, and I chose to become a father again. There can be no greater definition of stupidity or bravery; insanity or clarity; hubris or grace. Lying on the floor, talking to my son in soothing tones and jingling bright, interesting-looking things in front of his eyes, as I did with his sister, I yearn for him to feel his sister’s touch. Then I remember with a start: We were never going to have him. We always said Greta was enough — why have another kid? I gaze in awe. He wouldn’t exist if his sister had not died. I have two children. Where is the other one? Becoming a parent is already a terrifying process. After a child’s violent death, the calculations are murkier. What does my trauma mean for this happy, uncomplicated being in my care? Will it affect the choices I make on his behalf? Am I going to give a smaller, more fearful world to him than I gave to Greta? Is he doomed to live under the shadow of what happened to his sister?"

Children Don’t Always Live -

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Working with the dying taught me how to live - Daily Record

Ann Bradley spends her days caring for the dying. She loves her job and it has made her determined to live life to the full. The softly-spoken 47-year-old has worked in palliative care at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow for 14 years. She said: “It is a real privilege to work with families at the time of a loved one’s death – to help allay their fears and give them choices. “I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”

Working with the dying taught me how to live - Daily Record

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Radiance of Pain | Signs and Sirens

 "It is true, you see, that when hearts are broken, not everyone sews them up afterward. Some hearts stay open rather than scarring over. Some don’t just soften their ways; they soften all of our ways. They light our walks; they connect our hearths. Some–so many—are radiant in their pain."

The Radiance of Pain | Signs and Sirens:

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cookie Recipe Tombstone: Over Her Dead Body

Kathleen Turner: 'Americans really don't want to deal with death'

 "In her storied, smoky voice, Turner reflects: “Americans in particular – and I would not speak for other cultures necessarily – really don’t want to deal with death. We don’t want to even pretend it happens, unless you’re a super-Christian, I guess, of some kind, which I am not. And in fact, in a way, I think we disrespect the process, our own lives, by not honouring that part of it as well.” "

Kathleen Turner: 'Americans really don't want to deal with death' | Stage | The Guardian:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife - The New York Times

Peter DeMarco wrote to the medical team who cared for his wife, and as it turned out, everyone in her family, before she died.

"Every single one of you treated Laura with such professionalism, and kindness, and dignity as she lay unconscious. When she needed shots, you apologized that it was going to hurt a little, whether or not she could hear. When you listened to her heart and lungs through your stethoscopes, and her gown began to slip, you pulled it up to respectfully cover her. You spread a blanket, not only when her body temperature needed regulating, but also when the room was just a little cold, and you thought she’d sleep more comfortably that way. You cared so greatly for her parents, helping them climb into the room’s awkward recliner, fetching them fresh water almost by the hour, and by answering every one of their medical questions with incredible patience. My father-in-law, a doctor himself as you learned, felt he was involved in her care. I can’t tell you how important that was to him. Then, there was how you treated me. How would I have found the strength to have made it through that week without you? "

A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife - The New York Times

Making End-Of-Life Care Decisions Is About As Real As It Gets | Huffington Post

 "We understand that the goal of medicine today is to keep you alive. A cynic might say that as long as the patient is alive, there are billable procedures to be performed. Dead patients aren’t paying customers. I’m not that cynical, but I also don’t believe that most doctors know how to talk to families or patients about end-of-life care and how to plan for it. My husband’s doctor seemed genuinely shocked when I asked if he could just ignore the restrictive renal diet and just eat what he wants. I was serious. Why not? His kidneys have failed and aren’t coming back. How is a baked potato (on the forbidden list) going to make that any worse? So yeah, my husband and I spent hours going through his directive. We understand the importance of staying calm while we discuss these things. We talk to our kids about quality of life and the hard choices people sometimes have to make. We talk endlessly about living life to the fullest in the gaps between treatments.  Yep, we understand it all. But understanding it doesn’t make it any less hard on our hearts."

Making End-Of-Life Care Decisions Is About As Real As It Gets | Huffington Post

Study examines aggressive end-of-life care | Chicago Health

“Overuse of aggressive care at the very end of life for a cancer patient can translate to increased burden on patients and their families,” Falchook said. “If these treatments are making patients sick, and if patients continue to go to the hospital, this can reduce their ability to really spend time with their loved ones at the end of life, and to get the most time out of the life that they do have left.” And while Falchook said some treatments can be not only recommended, but beneficial to patients at the end of their lives to help ease suffering or pain, it’s important to be thoughtful about delivery. For example, researchers said radiation therapy can be used to reduce pain. “The goal shouldn’t be that there should be 0 percent of patients getting radiation in the last 30 days of life, or chemotherapy, or any of these treatments,” Falchook said. “There is some degree of what we’d call ‘appropriate care’ at the end of life. The goal is not zero, but finding that three-fourths of patients continued to receive aggressive care was surprising.”

Study examines aggressive end-of-life care | Chicago Health:

Monday, October 3, 2016

Grief Triggers Can Open Floodgates of Memory

"[M]y mother died in the fall, on a crisp October New York morning, and now it seems I will never experience the sights, smells and feelings of fall in quite the same way.  In the scrapbook of my mind memories of hayrides, Halloween, and apple picking play second string to goodbyes, red eyed family members, graveyards, sadness and longing. For me fall, with its sensory overload and bewitched air quality, is a land mine of grief triggers."

What's your grief?:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

California Is The First State To Require Spiritual Care In Health Care | Huffington Post

If you get sick in California, and you are covered by the state’s Medi-Cal health insurance, you will be pleased to know that your health care just got better. California is the first state to recognize that spiritual care is a standalone discipline in health care and a trained and certified palliative care chaplain must be available for any patient who wants one. Spirituality, defined in the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care is a “fundamental aspect of compassionate, patient-and family-centered care that honors the dignity of all persons.”

California Is The First State To Require Spiritual Care In Health Care | Huffington Post: