Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We Don’t Know Death: 7 Assumptions We Make about Dying ~ Pallimed

A thoughtful perspective on assumptions about death -- that people do not want to be alone when they die, that families want to be there, that we should tell people to "let go."

"As a bereavement counselor, you see so many cases where people feel guilty for “not being there.”  It can be helpful to set the expectation early that dying is a private experience and the person may die when family and friends are not there. We discuss how their loved one may not be able to “let go” while they are there. This information can help caregivers to take the pressure off themselves."

We Don’t Know Death: 7 Assumptions We Make about Dying ~ Pallimed:

PBS: Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts

Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, premiering January 25, 2017, at 10pm ET, is an urgent wake-up call about the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Your Parent has Just Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer's -- What Do You Do Now?

NextGen has a very reassuring and constructive checklist for that very difficult moment when the person who has always seemed to be able to take care of you suddenly needs care because your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It includes the following:

Get professional assistance in coordinating care by finding geriatric care managers and doctors specializing in dementia.

Locate adult day care services (where you take your parent for a period of time) or respite care services (people who come into the home). Investigate the memory care facilities in the area, so you know what is available and what costs are involved if it becomes necessary to move your parent.

Think about your social networks. Are there people, perhaps at your place of worship or in your mom’s friendship circle, who can help with errands, meals, home maintenance tasks and other necessities?

Look for support groups. Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s is demanding, exhausting and eventually all-consuming. It can be a tremendous benefit to talk with others in the same situation.

At the same time, start gathering your parent’s important documents and data, including things such as:

certificates of birth, marriage and divorce
last will and testament
health care directives
power of attorney papers
veteran’s papers
Social Security number
car title and keys
home deed or mortgage papers
all personal and property insurance policies
pension and/or 401(k) account information;
names of service professionals (banker, lawyer, estate planning attorney, financial adviser, insurance agent, doctors, etc.)
employer documents
Ensure you also know passwords to parent’s computer, cell phone and all online and social media accounts. Keep all these in a secure and centralized location.

And -- collect memories while you can. People with memory loss often hold onto their long-term memories. Ask questions and record the answer.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral | john pavlovitz

"The early days of grief are a hazy, dizzying, moment by moment response to a trauma that your mind simply can’t wrap itself around. You are, what I like to call a Grief Zombie; outwardly moving but barely there. You aren’t really functioning normally by any reasonable measurement, and so that huge crush of people is like diverting thousands of cars into a one lane back road—it all overwhelms the system. You can’t absorb it all. Often it actually hurts. This usually happens until the day of the funeral, when almost immediately the flood of support begins to subside. Over the coming days the calls and visits gradually become less frequent as people begin to return to their normal lives already in progress—right about the time the bottom drops out for you. Just as the shock begins to wear off and the haze is lifted and you start to feel the full gravity of the loss; just as you get a clear look at the massive crater in your heart—you find yourself alone. People don’t leave you because they’re callous or unconcerned, they’re just unaware. Most people understand grief as an event, not as the permanent alteration to life that it is, and so they stay up until the funeral and imagine that when the service ends, that somehow you too can move ahead; that there is some finishing to your mourning."

The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral | John Pavlovitz

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What I've Learned From Grieving Parents | The Huffington Post

Jessica Kidd founded the nonprofit Gracie’s Gowns to donate personalized hospital gowns to children battling life-threatening conditions. With years spent working in pediatric emergency services, Jessica realized that children would often go without clothing due to the limited sizing and harsh texture of hospital gowns. Inspired by Grace, a friend’s child battling pediatric cancer, Jessica began creating and donating customized gowns in kid-friendly sizes and materials. She writes in the Huffington Post about what she has learned. Highlights include:

"1. There is no correct way to grieve. Despite turning to elicit drug abuse, alcoholism, or any other addiction that puts ones personal safety in danger, no one can tell you how to grieve. Sure there are thousands of therapists and counselors, even many more thousands of self-help books, the personal accounts and suggestions of others, and the list goes on...but the way you will end up grieving the passing of your child is entirely up to you. 2. Grieving is not something negative. Not only is it not a negative, but it is healthy. It shows that you have loved your child is such a way that no one else could. Grief doesn’t always come out all at once, in fact it usually comes out in bit by bit when certain moments, songs, smells, memories, and even just hearing their name triggers it. It’s okay to take that moment to feel that pain all over again. Try to appreciate those moments. 3. Home is not a location, or even an address. Many of you reading this your home wasn’t one particular place, in fact, home was found wherever you felt the safest, the place that brings to surface the emotions you’ve buried, and even brings back the memories you may have forgotten. PTSD is real in parents of children with complex medical needs, but as much as the hospital setting triggers those emotions, it is also the place many call home. The memories are bittersweet, the emotions are real and very raw, but within those walls were also some of your greatest victories."

What I've Learned From Grieving Parents | The Huffington Post

Friday, January 6, 2017

Death and STUFF | The Order of the Good Death

"Inanimate objects will not, in any meaningful way, survive us. It took me a while to notice but minimalism is strongly tied to death acceptance. Acquisition is death denial. To acquire is to fortify yourself, expand yourself, make yourself unmovable, unwashawayable. To accumulate is to live as if you’re not going to die. "

Death and STUFF | The Order of the Good Death:

Complaint by James Wright

by James Wright

She’s gone. She was my love, my moon or more.
She chased the chickens out and swept the floor,
Emptied the bones and nut-shells after feasts,
And smacked the kids for leaping up like beasts.
Now morbid boys have grown past awkwardness;
The girls let stitches out, dress after dress,
To free some swinging body’s riding space
And form the new child’s unimagined face.
Yet, while vague nephews, spitting on their curls,
Amble to pester winds and blowsy girls,
What arm will sweep the room, what hand will hold
New snow against the milk to keep it cold?
And who will dump the garbage, feed the hogs,
And pitch the chickens’ heads to hungry dogs?
Not my lost hag who dumbly bore such pain:
Childbirth at midnight sassafras and rain.
New snow against her face and hands she bore,
And now lies down, who was my moon or more.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Kahlil Gibran: Free the Breath from its Restless Tides

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling? For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran"

Tagore: Let The Time for Parting Be Sweet

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet. Let it not be a death but completeness. Let love melt into memory and pain into songs. Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest. Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night. Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence. I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way. ~ Rabindranath Tagore"

Death, Dying, Grief | Allspirit