Author Archive for Larry Patten – Page 2

Hospice and Reflexive Eating

We talked about “reflexive eating” in a hospice meeting.

It’s when nourishment is automatically eaten.

I immediately thought about my next meal.

It’s when opening the mouth for food or liquid is more from habit than need.

I eat too much.

If food is placed before me, I might take a bite or ten without even being hungry. Could I be a reflexive eater? Could I blame this problem on Mom? As a kid, we not only had three nice meals a day, but after school there was usually a plate of cookies. It was such a Leave It To Beaver stereotype, with me home from a grueling day in fourth grade. There, ready for me, were a cool glass of milk accompanied by freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts, of course).

There’s more.

What about declining dessert after dinner, but scheming for—while later watching Bonanza or The Twilight Zone on ye olde TV—a bowl of ice cream? One scoop? Two?

What about my lifelong chips and salsa relationship? Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Don’t Say that Word!

In a workshop I attended several years ago, Dr. Alan Wolfelt explained the distinctions between grief and mourning. Wolfelt’s a renowned expert, the founder of Colorado’s Center for Loss & Life Transition. His understanding likely won’t be found in the dusty dictionary on your bookshelf or online at Wikipedia. And though I could consult my scratchy notes, I’ll share my simplistic recollection of what he said.

Grief is internal. Mourning is external.

How obvious! Doesn’t everyone know that’s the difference between those two experiences? But I’ll confess:  if you’d asked me before the workshop, I might’ve muttered, “Grief and mourning mean sorta the same thing.”

When humans experience any loss of significance, emotions roil us. Physically, we are floored. Our spirits sag. Energy wanes. Waking up is a chore; going to bed is dreaded. Have you been fired or downsized from a job? How’d you feel? Did you get dumped in high school or college by the sweetheart you were convinced was your lifelong “soul mate?” How’d you feel? Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hospice, Grief, and the Well-Dressed Guy

He was dressed for success.

His suit was charcoal gray, the shirt the color of a spring sky, and the tie was snappy. The shoes were shined into mirrors. I figured, since this was my hospice’s grief support group that met mid-day (for those 55 and over), that he was coming from work.

Or maybe the fellow was retired and chose to wear his “Sunday best.” My father, long after his final days of full-time work, frequently donned a nice shirt and cinched up one of the ties he’d worn years before. Until his cruel dementia stole nearly everything about him, Dad might add a sports jacket or color-coordinated sweater to complete the look.

Some guys, office bound or happily retired, like to maintain appearances.

My new group member did.

It was the first session. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather