Hospice – Page 2

On Dating & Grief Groups

Lady and the Tramp

Ahhhh . . . the dating scene from 1955’s “The Lady and the Tramp.”

In the hospice where I work, the Grief Support Group Guideline #16 states: Members shouldn’t date other members while participating in the support group.

What?

Though not the exact wording, it’s close. As a grief support group leader, I spend the first session on mundane tasks such as explaining confidentiality forms, asking members to write about their expectations, and—like the dullest of substitute teachers—reading aloud every single do and don’t in the group guidelines.

  • We do want them to silence all electronic devices.
  • We don’t want anyone to dominate the conversations. (No gushers, said a friend of mine.)
  • We do desire confidentiality.
  • We don’t want anyone taking recreational drugs.
  • We do want group members to let us know if they’ll miss a session.
  • We don’t want them to do any dating of fellow participants.

There are more guidelines than these, but you get the idea. Read More →

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Words Used in Hospice I’d Like to Delete

winding paths

The scene below is complete fiction . . . (Except families face similar situations every day.)

The phone rang before he had sampled the morning’s first cup of coffee. Given the daily flood of robocalls, wrong numbers, and solicitations for money or opinions, he thought about ignoring it. Out of habit, he glanced at the caller ID.

His sister, phoning before dawn on the other side of the country.

He answered, knowing even before she spoke her first halting, gasping, tearful words that their father—the “old man,” the cranky veteran of two wars, and the guy who had not disturbed his wife’s side of the closet a decade after her death—had taken a turn for the worse.

“You better come,” she said. “I think he’s dying.”

Within the hour, he’d called his boss and rearranged his schedule. He bought credit-card-exploding plane tickets and kissed his wife and kids goodbye. Finally settled into a lousy middle chair in a row of three seats near the back of the plane, several thoughts dominated his mind.

Maybe I can get closure.

And then the family can get back to normal.

I hope this will be over soon. Read More →

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On Faith: Blessing, Burden, or Both?

faith traditions

The younger one answered the phone.

Her older sister had recently died. Soon, I was sharing what our hospice offered for the grieving. Part of my job responsibilities include “cold calling” family members in the fragmented, blurry days after a loved one’s death.

Like many hospices, we have grief counselors. It would be easy to schedule a one-on-one session, but she didn’t sound interested. I suggested our support groups.

“Maybe later on, but I’m really not a groupy kind of person.”

A grief workshop on next month’s calendar also wasn’t appealing. And then, since this conversation occurred when summer was fading into autumn, I mentioned several upcoming annual activities. One dealt with facing the holidays without a loved one. Another was an outdoor memorial service between Thanksgiving and Christmas, open to everyone in the community.

“Are those holiday events going to focus on a particular faith?” she asked.

She emphasized particular. Read More →

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