Sunday, December 26, 2010

Caregiving and Hospice, December 19 - December 25

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Understanding and Managing Grief, December 19 - December 25

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Coping with Pet Loss, December 19 - December 25

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Monday, December 20, 2010

During the Holidays and Beyond: Wishing You Enough



Dear Ones,

This story came to me over the Internet one day.  I've since learned that it was taken from a piece originally written by Bob Perks, and it is reprinted here with his permission.  I hope it touches your heart as it does my own:

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together [at a regional airport.] 

They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough."  She in turn said,

"Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."

They kissed and she left.  He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied.  Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. 

Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.

So I knew what this man was experiencing.

"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.

"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said.

"When you were saying good-bye," I asked, "I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?"

He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone."  He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.  "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory:

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

"I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

"I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

"I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

"I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

"I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

"I wish you enough 'Hello's' to get you through the final 'Goodbye'."

He then began to sob and walked away.


Dear readers, this is my holiday wish for you:

Whatever is beautiful, whatever is meaningful, whatever brings you peace, may it be yours this Holiday Season ~ and may it be enough to sustain you throughout the New Year.

Wishing you peace and healing,
Marty
 ~   ~

You may be interested to learn that Bob's beautiful story has been expanded into a book by the same title.  You can read Amazon's description and reviews here: I Wish You Enough: Embracing Life's Most Valuable Moments, One Wish at a Time.


Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here

© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Caregiving and Hospice, December 12 - December 18

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • High tech, intensive care is a poor substitute for emotional fulfillment at end of life,  

Understanding and Managing Grief, December 12 - December 18

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • The Widdahood: New social support site for anyone who's lost a significant other,

Coping with Pet Loss, December 12 - December 18

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caregiving and Hospice, December 5 - December 11

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Understanding and Managing Grief, December 5 - December 11

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Service this Sunday, Dec. 12, 7 pm local time,
  • Wonderful! we LOVE each other: a healing journal for grieving children, by Julie McLellan-Mariano

Coping with Pet Loss, December 5 - December 11

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • Losing a beloved pet: 3 H's of Coping with Holiday Grief, by Laurel Lagoni, MS

Monday, December 6, 2010

Worldwide Candle Lighting Service, 2010

Held annually the second Sunday in December, this year on December 12, 2010 at 7 p.m.The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died ~ at any age, from any cause. Candles are lit at 7 p.m. in participants' own local time zones, creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light that moves from one time zone to another throughout the world.  Hundreds of thousands of persons will join to commemorate and honor deceased children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.  Formal candle lighting events are held in public venues, and informal candle lightings are conducted in private homes, as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but who never will be forgotten.

You're also invited to visit TCF's national Web site on Sunday, December 12 to leave a message in their Remembrance Book. Although messages can only be added during this day, the Remembrance Book will be left open throughout the year to enable visitors to read these touching messages from around the world.  You can join in the Online Support Community during its extended Worldwide Candle Lighting Hours. 

Find a Worldwide Candle Lighting Service in your own community here: 2010 Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Services, or visit the Compassionate Friends/USA Facebook Page.  For information of any type related to the Worldwide Candle Lighting, write [email protected] or call 877-969-0010.

Songwriter and ASCAP award winner Paul Alexander wrote the music and lyrics for Light a Candle, a song of remembrance that has been used to enhance thousands of such memorial services.  Listen to the song and find the lyrics here:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Caregiving and Hospice, November 28 - December 4

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Understanding and Managing Grief, November 28 - December 4

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • How to Help A Child or Teen Cope With The Loss of A Loved One During the Holidays,  
  • You'll find links to dozens of helpful 'Coping with Holidays' articles here,  

Coping with Pet Loss, November 28 - December 4

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Animal Rescuer Devastated As Shelter Disregards Her Wishes

Image from FreeFoto.com
Question from a Reader:  I have been saving sick, feral kittens for over five years.  I expend an enormous amount of time, energy and financiaI resources to heal them before adopting them out.  I used to find them homes by running an ad in our local papers, but on the advice of my vet, began utilizing Animal Humane Shelters so they could be spayed/neutured and vaccinated.  I recently surrendered four beautiful, young cats to one of these facilities.  They were instructed that under no circumstance were they to be euthanized; instead, I was to be contacted and offered the opportunity to reclaim/adopt them.  They disregarded my request and last week, all four kittens were put to sleep.  I am beside myself with grief and guilt.  I do not/cannot understand why I am hurting so bad.  My intention was to find them a home.  Should I have just kept them?  Should I not save anymore of these kittens, as the outcome will be the same?  I cannot cope with this loss.  My younger two children believe they were adopted, so I cannot show any sign of grief in their presence, but when they are absent, I cry; I wail to the point I cannot breathe.  Please, help me to understand, if you can, why this pain is so far- reaching and whatever words of comfort will be much appreciated.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caregiving and Hospice, November 21 - November 27

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
 

Understanding and Managing Grief, November 21 - November 27

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • STUG (Sudden Temporary Upsurges of Grief): When current loss triggers past losses | Health Journeys,  

Coping with Pet Loss, November 21 - November 27

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Engage With Grace, 2010

Things we are grateful for this year
For three years running now, many of us bloggers have participated in what we’ve called a “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace – a movement aimed at making sure all of us understand, communicate, and have honored our end-of-life wishes. 

The rally is timed to coincide with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these unbelievably important conversations – our closest friends and family.

At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation about end-of-life started. We’ve included them at the end of this post.  They’re not easy questions, but they are important – and believe it or not, most people find they actually enjoy discussing their answers with loved ones.  The key is having the conversation before it’s too late. 

This past year has done so much to support our mission to get more and more people talking about their end-of-life wishes. We’ve heard stories with happy endings ~ and stories with endings that could’ve (and should’ve) been better. We’ve stared down political opposition.  We’ve supported each other’s efforts.  And we’ve helped make this a topic of national importance.

So in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, we’d like to highlight some things for which we’re grateful. 

Thank you to Atul Gawande for writing such a fiercely intelligent and compelling piece, Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can't Save Your Life – it is a work of art, and a must read. 
 
Thank you to whomever perpetuated the myth of “death panels” for putting a fine point on all the things we don’t stand for, and in the process,  shining a light on the right we all have to live our lives with intent – right through to the end. 

Thank you to TEDMED for letting us share our story and our vision.
 
And of course, thank you to everyone who has taken this topic so seriously, and to all who have  done so much to spread the word, including sharing The One Slide.

(To learn more please go to www.engagewithgrace.org. This post was written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team. )

Healing Grief through the Gift of Volunteering

Source
[Reviewed and updated November 8, 2017]

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late . . . the love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, 'What are you going through?' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Depending upon where you are in your grief journey, at some point you may feel the need to channel your pain, as well as the time and energy once devoted to your relationship with your loved one, into something productive and meaningful ~ through the gift of volunteering. As one who truly understands the grieving process, you may feel ready to reach out to others who are suffering the pain of loss. Now that you’ve found your own way through so many challenges of grief, you have a great deal to share with others who are suffering: you can identify with their struggles, empathize with their sorrows and doubts, and offer valuable information and support.

Giving of yourself as a volunteer enables you to pursue personal interests, polish old skills and learn new ones, and make a positive difference in your community.

You can learn more about volunteering, find your local volunteer center and choose the interest area you want to explore at the Points of Light Foundation's Volunteer Center National Network .

See also the links to local volunteer opportunities on the AARP Community Service: Home Page. To help you balance service and your busy schedule, AARP’s Office of Volunteer and Civic Engagement can help you find creative options for getting involved. Enter your Zip code at Create the Good to learn about local opportunities. The site also has detailed “how-to” guides you can download, as well as other “do-it-yourself” ideas for doing good.

Other useful information on volunteering can be found on these Web sites:

Project Linus: Providing Security through Blankets

Feeding America: Find a Volunteer Opportunity


Star Legacy Foundation: Dedicated to Stillbirth Research, Education

Healthcare Volunteer: Global Portal for Healthcare Volunteers


Network for Good


Kindness Ideas, from Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

September 11 National Day of Service

Ten Tips on Volunteering Wisely


Volunteer Match: Where Volunteering Begins

If you’re interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, contact your local hospice organization – or consider some of the agencies that offer in-depth training applicable to all hospice settings:

Hospice Volunteer Association

Volunteer Hospice Network

Hospice Volunteer Training Institute

Hospice Volunteer Training Series

Metta Institute

Upaya Institute

You can learn more in Angela Morrow’s informative article, What Is a Hospice Volunteer?  Also highly recommended is Stan Goldberg's inspiring book, Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life, in which the author shares the wisdom he gains from being a hospice volunteer.

Giving back to the courageous folks who serve your community is yet another alternative. Consider how Scott Mastley (whose brother died in an auto crash) honors the men in his local fire department every year, as a way of thanking the individual fireman who comforted his brother as he lay dying. He writes,
"I gathered the courage to call the man who sat in the car with my brother while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. The man was a fireman, and he was off duty, painting a house to earn extra money, when he saw the accident." Read on here: Turkey Talks: Thanking the Man Who Comforted My Brother.

In Giving to Others Helped Mom Make It through Loss of Daughter, bereaved mother Jenny Hander describes how she brought hope and healing back into her life following the death of her newborn. Because her baby was a twin, she realized she had a double supply of stuffed animals, toys and books for her surviving daughter – far more than she needed. Beginning at home and branching out into her community, she began collecting and distributing new and gently loved stuffed animals to children in her city, on behalf of the national organization SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies).  “Donating stuffed animals to children in need allowed me to share the love I had for my daughter who had passed,” Jenny writes. “In two years, I distributed over 2,000 stuffed animals to local children’s shelters and hospitals.” According to their Web site, SAFE chapter members “collect new and gently used stuffed animals, toys, books and blankets to be redistributed to emergency organizations, children’s services, hospitals, homeless shelters and many other places that help children during times of crisis. These emergency organizations use the stuffed animals to ease the children’s nerves and calm their fears. Your donations let the children know you care and help them feel a little more SAFE when they need it most.”

For her part, Personal Property Services expert Julie E. Hall encourages readers to Use Your Stuff to Bless Others . Find more compassionate advice “for dealing with a lifetime accumulation of stuff” on Julie’s helpful and informative blog, The Estate Lady.

Especially at this time of year, when so much of the focus is on gift-giving, you might consider asking yourself these questions: Is there something you've always wanted to learn how to do? What causes or issues are important to you? What skills do you have that you could offer to others? Are you ready to offer the gift of volunteering?

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here


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© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC