Archive for Children

Fragile: Handle with Care

The woman suddenly cried.

In an intake of a breath, she shifted from smiling and looking a bit weary from work . . . to tears. The person beside her, older and probably her mother, was caught off guard. What do you do with an abruptly weeping thirty-something daughter?

The women had been passing in front of my hospice’s table display. Along with a colleague, I staffed the table—covered by brochures, info packets, resource samples, and some very popular mints for giving away—to answer questions about grief support services.

The sobbing woman stared at the section of the table devoted to our Angel Babies program.

My colleague leaned toward her and asked, quietly, gently, “How long ago?”

“Seven years.”

Seven years since the death of her child.

[Disclaimer.]

Let me, with humility and a dose of confidentiality, press the “remote” to pause these sentences. Read More →

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A Child’s View of Dying

“Now I can have my television back,” the six-year old said.

Death has its rewards.

When I was a hospice chaplain, that’s what the youngest grandson of a patient declared soon after the death. From the mouth of babes, eh? “Unless you become like a child, you won’t enter the kingdom of God,” Jesus said. And it’s not just Christianity, for Buddha reportedly expressed, “The heart of a child is like that of Buddha.”

But a television?

All of us present chuckled when the youngster spoke of his entertainment plans. We laughed sadly—and joyfully—because of what had occurred a few minutes before . . . and what had been happening for quite a while. The grandfather had lived with the family for longer than his grandson’s lifespan: eight years. That meant adjustments for everyone. Sometimes the household had to be very quiet—hard for any kid. Trips to Disneyland were postponed. Friends couldn’t come over at certain times. Holidays were low-key.

In the final months of the grandfather’s life, with most of his time spent in a bed, he got to have the television in his room.

None of the sacrifices were easy for the six-year old or his nearly nine-year old brother. Read More →

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A Perinatal Story

baby and momI was uncertain of what “perinatal” meant.

Though I’ve been colleagues for several years with the Angel Babies counselors at the hospice where I work, I was, well . . . ignorant.

[Read Disclaimer here.]

In my feeble defense, I’m not directly involved with the Angel Babies program. I’m also not a medical expert, and even “easy” terminology stumps me. Additionally, my wife and I don’t have children.

There were a series of unremarkable events—a phone call, a conversation, a few words on a webpage—that led me to learn “perinatal” referred to the before and after time period around the birth of a child. Here’s the sentence from the webpage that I’m sure I’d read before and had—like humans often do—overlooked the words I didn’t understand: Read More →

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