Archive for Emotions – Page 2

Grief & Anger

anger.1During our conversation, the nephew kept repeating, his angry voice like black ice on a winter road, “That type of thing should never happen and it wasn’t fair to my aunt.”

I agreed with him.

Every time.

The nephew’s aunt—who’d raised him since his single-parent mother had died before he entered kindergarten—was the most important person in his life. Her final days in hospice, as far as he was concerned, became her worst days.

Based on the brief chart notes I’d scanned about this sixty-something woman, I hadn’t expected any frustrations about hospice. When I phoned not long after her death to ask how he and the rest of the family were doing, his anger shadowed our entire conversation.

Here, though, I should pause.

[Disclaimer]

I am making most of this up, based on my thousands of calls to people grieving in the first days after the death of a loved one. There was no nephew. No aunt. And the “type of thing” that “should never happen” could’ve been many different possibilities: Read More →

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A Few Awkward Precious Moments

A brother stormed out of a hastily organized family conference because, “No one cares what I think.”

A brother stormed out of a hastily organized family conference because, “No one cares what I think.”

Hospice is comfort care.

(Those who know anything about hospice will agree with that sentence.)

At the hospice where I work, the mission statement is . . . to uphold the dignity and ease the suffering of the terminally ill while supporting their loved ones, and those who are grieving.

(Other hospices have a similar mission statement.)

What do you want at the end of your life?

Do you desire care focused on “comfort?” Do you hope to be treated with dignity and have your suffering eased? Would you want loved ones “supported” during the time of your dying and after your death?

Your dying.

Your death.

What do you want? Read More →

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I Don’t Need Any Help

Im-FineAccording to the social worker’s earliest notes on the medical chart, the patient’s son didn’t want follow-up for bereavement after his father’s death.

The nurse who’d cared for his father echoed those sentiments when the family was discussed in the hospice team meeting. Since the patient—the father—had been in our hospice’s care for several months, there had been multiple visits by the social worker, nurse, and chaplain. All agreed the son had said (before and at the time of death) he was doing fine. Additionally, the son’s cousin—who was more like a trusted friend since childhood—was one of our hospice nurses.

This cousin affirmed what others concluded: the son had shared he didn’t need additional bereavement support after his father’s death. He. Was. Fine. But the cousin also said to me, and to the social worker who’d write the official chart notes, that the son should be called anyway.

“Give him a call,” the cousin/nurse said. Read More →

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