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Tag Archives: hospice

The Purpose of Grief

The Purpose of Grief

Every sad ending contains the seeds of a new happy beginning. I know this for sure and have lived through it myself. In a recent phone call, this truth was revealed to me one more time. One of my jobs as a hospice volunteer is to make follow-up phone calls to bereaved family members. How the conversation will… Continue Reading

The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life

Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorite modern-day mystics. In his book A New Earth Tolle talks about the duality of life. There’s night and day, up and down, happy and sad, tall and short. Duality is the nature of the physical world we live in. It is a world of opposites, of contrasts. So it… Continue Reading

Midwife to the Dying: Part 2

Midwife to the Dying: Part 2

My conversation with Judith Redwing Keyssar continues as she explains the terms “hospice” and “palliative” care, self-care for caregivers and cultural differences in death and dying. Read on… 6. People oftentimes think of hospice as “giving up on a loved one.” How would you respond? NO, NO, NO. Hospice is NEVER about giving up. Dying is… Continue Reading

Midwife to the Dying: Part 1

Midwife to the Dying: Part 1

Judith Redwing Keyssar is so much more than her impressive credentials. She is someone who is comfortable with death and dying, and assists people through this significant transition. Director of the Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the San Francisco Bay Area, Keyssar’s book Last Acts of Kindness: Lessons for… Continue Reading

Death: Scared or Sacred?

Death: Scared or Sacred?

The call came at 10:15 on a Sunday morning. It was Lana, the hospice nurse, calling to let me know that 70-year-old Bessie was actively dying in our in-patient hospice care facility. “She has no family,” Lana said to me. “We’re starting a Volunteer Vigil for her. Can you come sit with her for a… Continue Reading

“Do you hear me?”

“Do you hear me?”

“We’ve said our goodbyes to each other,” Janet choked the words out. I turned to look at her 59-year-old husband Ted who was deeply sedated, but more at peace than he’d been a couple of days ago. Ted was in our hospice facility, dying from intestinal cancer. Janet and I were sitting in their room, a box of… Continue Reading

Anticipatory Grief: Waiting for Death

Anticipatory Grief: Waiting for Death

When you know a loved one’s death is approaching, you experience anticipatory grief. In other words, death hasn’t occurred yet, but it is coming. Anticipatory grief can be easy or hard, depending on the kind of person you are. Some people like the time to prepare, to say goodbye, to take care of unfinished business.… Continue Reading

What the dying need from us

What the dying need from us

Over the weeks and months following the grim diagnosis of terminal illness or a debilitating injury, your loved one experiences many losses. Once a healthy, functional, productive individual they begin to suffer a severe loss of identity. The valued role they played is soon a thing of the past. How do you, as family, or primary caregiver,… Continue Reading