Over the past century our society has become distant from both death and the tending to our dead. According to Gary Laderman’s book Rest in Peace: a Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Industry in Twentieth-Century America, “The divide was produced by three social factors: changes in demographic patterns, the rise of hospitals as places of dying, and the growth of modern funeral homes” (p 1). Our mental, emotional, spiritual, financial and societal health has been negatively affected directly and indirectly by this disconnect. Because our relationship to death is at the core of what it is to be human, this detachment affects both individual and societal health. Continue reading
I grew up in just-post-segregation Alabama. In 1976, I was a kindergartener and my best friend was a little black boy named Kendall. We had a lot in common. I would chase him around on the playground and he would eat my crayons. Life was grand or so I thought, until my parents came and had a conference with my kindergarten teacher. The next day we were separated from each other in class. I remember crying to mom in protest saying, “But aren’t we ALL God’s children?”
I still feel the same way today. So, I’m extremely disheartened by the recent increase in racial tensions. But I have something very important to share with you…
Hospice care is the antidote.
(This photo is of one of my local hospice nurses comforting her patient.)
Hospice is the one social institution in 2015 which contains the seeds of healing for race relations. You may have never had a black, white, yellow or red-skinned person in your home in your entire life. But, if you are a hospice patient, some human with a different skin tone may very well come into your home to love, serve and care for you in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Also, as we travel the end-of-life pathway, we have opportunities to allow old prejudices to fall away in insignificance. Relationship healing and deepening can occur at accelerated rates. Love and even friendship may blossom more easily.
The giving and receiving of hospice care may be one of the most powerful current reminders that “we are ALL God’s children.”
Please share this message.
#healing #racerelations with #hospice
PS. My parents have long since grown out of their prejudices. No one needs to remain trapped by socio-cultural biases. We can choose a better way.
Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms,
You would never see the true beauty of their carvings.
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD
Fore words. To listen: concentrate and make an effort to hear someone. To heal: treat a scarring wound by assisting in its natural repair. To love: appreciate; care deeply; regard with affection and compassion; feel a warm personal attachment also to humanity.
The power of listening is immense and immeasurable. It changes lives. 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
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
— Morrie Schwartz Continue reading
Emotional wellness is important to cultivate in all phases of living, but may be most naturally available at the end of life—the very time when the wellness of the body may be waning.
How is this so?
When people have a sure knowledge that they are nearing the end of their lives, a new type of energy is unleashed. Old inhibitions and blockages may be released. An emotional and spiritual window of opportunity opens which allows love to be shared more freely, old grudges to fall away in insignificance, and relationship healing to occur which seemed unobtainable at other times of life. Continue reading