Archive for Grief

Hospice, Grief, and the Well-Dressed Guy

He was dressed for success.

His suit was charcoal gray, the shirt the color of a spring sky, and the tie was snappy. The shoes were shined into mirrors. I figured, since this was my hospice’s grief support group that met mid-day (for those 55 and over), that he was coming from work.

Or maybe the fellow was retired and chose to wear his “Sunday best.” My father, long after his final days of full-time work, frequently donned a nice shirt and cinched up one of the ties he’d worn years before. Until his cruel dementia stole nearly everything about him, Dad might add a sports jacket or color-coordinated sweater to complete the look.

Some guys, office bound or happily retired, like to maintain appearances.

My new group member did.

It was the first session. Read More →

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You’re in My Thoughts & Prayers

I will keep you in my . . . thoughts and prayers.

I’ve said that phrase. I’ve written it to those who have experienced death or disaster.

Isn’t it a good phrase? While it’s become a cultural cliché, isn’t it also a true enough and honest enough—but never adequate enough—response when another is hurting?

Thoughts? Please, invite in the agnostics and atheists, along with the cynics and critics. Everyone, even the most self-centered or isolated, thinks about others. Especially when tragedy befalls individuals, groups, or regions, we think about them. Mostly, people wish to share kind, tender thoughts. Often, we have no idea what to say, other than to express some form of hope.

Prayers? In our multitude of faith traditions with dramatically different beliefs, prayer is common ground. One believer may openly pray to “change” the ways of the divine or human subject. Another’s prayer may be expressed silently to “lift up” or “honor” someone. And a third may recite a formal prayer or sacred, ancient text. There are many diverse forms of prayer and praying.

Public events inspire our reactions . . . Read More →

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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.


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

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