Hospice – Page 2

Loving Kindness

May I be at peace.

May my heart remain open.

May I realize the beauty of my own true nature.

May I be healed.

May I be a source of healing for this world.

May you be at peace.

May your heart remain open.

May you realize the beauty of your own true nature.

May you be healed.

May you be a source of healing for this world.

This is the loving-kindness prayer from Buddhist tradition. However, the moment I wrote “from Buddhist tradition,” I wondered if practicing Buddhists humbly smiled or openly grimaced. Is it possible some Buddhists would declare the May I be at peace… prayer was never in their faith tradition? Could it be made-up and willy-nilly tossed into Buddhism by others, or is it a corruption of an ancient expression watered down for modern listeners? I’m not Buddhist, nor a world religions expert, so I don’t know.

But I’m Christian and recall my sadness when discovering the “Prayer of St. Francis” (Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love…) first appeared in a French magazine published in 1912. In other words, likely not written by the Italian-born saint who lived from 1181 to 1226. Read More →

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12 Suggestions for Talking to Kids about Death

A patient asked his hospice nurse, “How can I tell my kid that I’m dying?”

And the nurse later asked me.

It’s a scary question for parents and grandparents when they enter hospice care and have “six months or less to live.”

Before attempting answers, there are several good reasons to question my responses.

First, I don’t have children. I’ll never tell my own kid that I am dying. Second, I’m not an expert, but do have experience. A minister, I’ve supported families during the time of dying and grieving. Right now, in hospice, I work in bereavement support.

Now you’re aware of my advice-giver flaws! However, with conversations involving parents, kids, and dying, being open about your weaknesses (and not forgetting your strengths) is important. Read More →

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Childish Hospice Lessons

In my Christian tradition, Jesus said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

You could find that passage in Mark 10:15. But this I also know: all religions have scriptures and traditions that affirm the importance of every single precious child.

And every single “child-like” adult.

I believe Jesus understood God’s realm in two different ways. The first was after death. Eternal life. But the second was equally important. It is the realm of the next moment and next relationship and next decision. The “realm of God” is where what is said or done can reveal how God longs for us to be in community, to be neighbors.

As a hospice chaplain, I witnessed both paths: the hope of life after death, the hope of life now.

Remember how you felt when hurt by the words or ways of another and they came to you, honestly seeking your forgiveness? I hope you have had those experiences. In that moment, as you gave forgiveness, you helped build or rebuild a “community” between you and another. Forgiving is a way for the selfish to become the selfless, the stranger to be greeted as friend, hate transformed by mercy, fists replaced by welcoming hands. Read More →

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