Archive for Grief Support Group

Don’t Let the What-ifs Hijack Your Grief

What-if questions haunt us. After a loved one’s death, the what-ifs can feel like a vice squeezing our hearts. But they finally ease their grip as the clock keeps spinning and the calendar pages turn.

What if the what-ifs keep troubling us?

They can randomly and relentless disturb us, like odd noises jarring us awake in the depths of night. What if . . .

  • he’d quit smoking years before?
  • she had gone to the oncologist earlier?
  • they hadn’t given that last dose of morphine?
  • you hadn’t flirted with the passenger on the plane?
  • you’d said, “I love you” . . . instead of “Leave me alone?”
  • the family had attended church (or temple, synagogue, or…) more often?

Are what-ifs like an airborne virus? Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines disease as:

“a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” [Underlining is mine.] Read More →

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Grief Support Groups are Not for Everyone, But…

She called mere minutes after the first grief support group had ended. Which meant she was likely still out in the parking lot, using her cell phone (I hate cell phones, I love cell phones), telling me she was quitting before beginning her drive home.

Yeah, quitting.

I was still putting materials away when the office phone rang. I hadn’t even written the required brief summary for the medical charts about what happened in the opening session.

I answered the phone.

She identified herself. “Do you remember who I am?” Read More →

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That’s Daddy

What is your name? Or should I say . . . names?

Why did your parents give you your first and middle names? Do you have more than three names? Is there a Jr. III, or Ph.D. after your last name? Do you have a title in front, like Dr. or Rev. or—if you’re in Congress—Honorable? During the recent presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton was often introduced as, “Secretary Clinton.” That represented a traditional gesture of respect towards her for the last official office (Secretary of State) she had held.

Let’s focus on middle names. Why do you have that name?

For me it’s “George.” As far as I know, it was chosen because it was Dad’s middle name. Beyond that spare early fact, George later inspired personal connections to cartoon characters and World War II heroes. During high school a few jokingly called me “George of the Jungle,” a reference to a dumb cartoon on television. There was also the famous World War II military figure, General George Patton (note his “misspelled” last name!), which led to a few “general” nicknames. And let’s not forget the nursery figure, Georgie-Porgie*. When bad as a kid, my little used middle name served as a warning for impending doom. If my parents demanded that Lawrence George Patten come to them “right now,” it was Trouble, with a capital T.

What about your middle name? What’s the history? Has it prompted lasting nicknames or is it part of lifelong family stories?

But why ponder names when my usual subject is hospice? Read More →

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