Archive for Grief – Page 2

The Phone Call

Man on beach
Now, less than a year after the initial cancer diagnosis, he was alone.

In my work with bereavement at hospice, I call grievers after a loved one’s death. With many of them, I leave messages.

While I repeat certain phrases and information, I have no script. Every message is unique, for that person. Though it infrequently happens, I hope my recorded message might prompt the “bereaved” to consider exploring and using our resources.

When someone answers, the conversations can be brief. Some calls drive me batty because the person could be driving, at work, or hurrying out the door for an appointment. He or she explains, “I can’t talk now.” Since I’m far, far from being a perfect human being, I often silently grumble: Then why’d you even answer? I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones and their ability to be with us anywhere we are.

One of my favorite can’t-talk-now calls was a fellow on the verge of “winning big” at a local Native American casino. I introduced myself while a soundtrack of electronic beeps and crowd noise ebbed and flowed. What was more important, playing the slots or speaking with the guy from hospice? Easy answer, eh?

Whether or not they are gambling or just too busy, we will try to contact them again.

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Hospice & 3 Guys: Guy During Grief

Guy grieving

Three guys.

They didn’t know each other, and they only knew me in the briefest and most problematic of days.

One Was Dying. Another was Near Death. The third was During Grief.

I think of them now, years—and decades—later, equally grateful and humbled for what I learned while spending time with them. As always, I will try to change a little or a lot of their story to disguise each guy’s true identity.

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The Guy During Grief . . .

He spoke in every one of the dozen grief support group sessions. I think it was only in the first gathering, where I shared the mandatory material about confidentiality and participant guidelines, that he did not mention a phrase that served as his personal mantra:

Nobody understands me.

And it wasn’t just once during the following eleven sessions that I heard Nobody understands me, but multiple times on a weekly basis whenever we had an open-ended sharing time or when he was responding to a specific question or concern. It could start a sentence or conclude one. Read More →Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dog Rules for Grieving

Dog rules

I was on the phone with someone whose loved one died a few days ago. This person hurts physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But grieving, nowadays, has become worse. With its shelter-in-place and social-distancing demands, the Covid-19 pandemic widens and deepens grief.

And then my dog arrived.

How odd to work at home and not the office!

My five-year-old golden retriever shoved her head into my available hands after the conversation started. Can’t those hands (“free” because of iPhone ear buds) get busy? 99.5% of my concentration remained with the person whose loved one has died. But maybe 00.5% was devoted to the “pet me” demands of my furry friend! Elsewhere in the house, my wife Zooms with colleagues. One of our cats is lounging on a table, and the other feisty feline is probably outside keeping us safe from rambunctious squirrels.

We talked. I listened. I offered encouragement. I reminded the grieving “client” about my hospice’s resources. Currently, we are not doing in-person counseling sessions but our grief counselors will reach out by phone or online or both. Soon, we will start grief support groups for the summer, though they might have to rely on the now ubiquitous Zoom platform.

And I kept petting Kynzi. Read More →Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather