“Oh God!” she groaned, looking upward with tears flooding her cheeks, which were stretched into the shape of agony. Her chest heaved uncontrollably with grief.
“I am so very sorry,” I whispered again while leaning in and stroking her hand.
This is what death notification often looks like and feels like. We doctors should be masters of delivering some of the worst news that could ever be uttered, the worst news that could ever be heard. Continue reading
“No man is an island”, John Donne, meditation XVII, English clergyman and poet (1572-1631)
Ultimately, the story of your life is not your own but affects all whom you have ever known. The story of your life carries great power. That’s why we are so moved by the stories of individuals who have overcome unusual odds. Continue reading
Most of the time I feel as though I am “running in quicksand” attempting to bring patients to a place of grace and dignity in dying. On occasion, there is someone who jerks me out of my quicksand and plants me squarely on stable shore and then proceeds to show me what grace and dignity in the face of death really look and feel like.
Please meet Mr. Jefferson. Continue reading
A monster named is easier tamed. — Old Adage
Crude self-examination is always an aftermath of loss. In the beginning, it is usually involuntary. It is impulsive. It is primitive, unrefined. It is based on emotion, not characterized by careful thought. It is a clear and often painful part of the grief process. Continue reading
The name of my book is “Bitter and Sweet, A Family’s Journey with Cancer.” Here is a brief summary. In April of 2010, my husband Tim began to have some strange sensations in his side. On May 7, we found ourselves facing stage IV gallbladder cancer rather than a simple gallbladder removal as planned. Five months and one week later, my husband died. Those five months were the most difficult and horrifying time of our lives. It was also an extremely beautiful time for us. We found ourselves using the phrase “bitter and sweet” so often during those five months, that it was an obvious title choice. What follows is the short version of our story…
Our lives had been full of paradoxes. How do you fight for your life and yet accept mortality at the same time? How do you maintain optimism, which is necessary for health, and prepare for your death and get your affairs in order? How do you understand God’s love and compassion, and yet experience cancer and suffering? Continue reading
“Only with death is the story of our lives complete”
~Monica Williams-Murphy, MD
A Eulogy, the recitation of ones life story, is a powerful tool for transformation and growth among survivors. Perhaps, the writer of the eulogy experiences the greatest growth from penning the words. Below is a freshly-written eulogy by one of our readers. Beautiful, simple, even poetic. Afterwards, a short praise of the eulogy and legacy is discussed. Continue reading
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
— Morrie Schwartz Continue reading
I turn 43 on New Year’s Eve, not that you really care, but it does convey a certain perspective to be ending your year in two different ways.
So, as a general rule there are two things for sure with me:
1st- I always work in the ER on my birthday (it’s far more interesting than any party I have ever attended and I get paid to show up!)
2nd- I never make New Years resolutions. Continue reading