Archive for Grief

Grief Remembers: Shadowing the Bear

Together, while others dozed in tents, three of us shadowed a bear.

This is not about hospice.

Except that it is.

In part, this is a remembrance of Richard—his real name, because I wish to honor his memory—who died following an accident in Mexico with college friends.

I will never forget visiting his parents soon after they heard the worst news of their lives.

Richard and his friends were around twenty, visiting Mexico for fun in the sun. They were kids. They were serious students. All happily lived in the moment, excited or nervous or both about their futures. Then came the accident. The one with the most injuries in the vehicular collision was Richard. But they all walked away, quickly making a decision that may or may not have been the right one. And please, read the truth of those words: they may or may not have made a good decision. Hindsight is cruel. Second-guessing sours even our most reasonable thoughts.

Should they have gone to a hospital immediately after the accident?

Should they have hurried to get across the border to the United States?

Who knows? Who knows? Read More →

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World’s Best Pie and a Perfect Death

At a weekly hospice patient care meeting, the medical director shared about a patient longing for one last overnight trip to the family’s mountain cabin. The drive would take a couple of hours from his home to the place the patient’s grandfather had built before World War II.

“I’d like to sit on the front porch again,” the patient had said. “In the early morning, you can always see deer grazing on their way to the lake.” The patient then added, “And there’s a diner not too far away with the world’s best berry pie. I’d like to share a slice with my Annie for old time’s sake.”

Annie was his wife of five decades.

“Would it be okay if we go?” Read More →

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There’s No Gift Like Cancer?

This is what a hospice nurse said the patient said:

“My cancer is a gift from God.”

What is your first reaction to that? How about something like, You’ve got to be kidding!

Or . . . Does that patient have a terminal and mental illness? Or you’d be speechless and roll your eyes . . . or shake your head and mutter several tsk-tsks . . . or clamp your jaw shut because Mom told you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

Or would you nod your head in reluctant agreement?

Can you imagine that last reaction—nodding and agreeing—to the patient’s pronouncement? I can, though it helped to hear the nurse’s report of the patient’s complete sentence . . . Read More →

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