Importance of Memorial Gatherings

As a chaplain, I often encounter well-intentioned people who plan no gathering for family and friends after death occurs. A dying person may say, “Don’t go to any trouble or expense for me.” I have, however, observed the benefit for those who gather in supportive community. 1. ENCOURAGEMENT When we process a death together, we […]

The Final Voice

Introduction As the generation of people who are faced with decisions for our parents, we are so very many times their final voice.  We are a society that plans for almost all changes in life. We plan for graduation, our wedding, the birth of a baby, college and retirement yet most of us avoid planning […]

Hospice Volunteer – Bereavement

I have been a hospice volunteer in bereavement for Wings of Hope Hospice for 16 years. This ‘job’ came about as a way for me to give back after I had been helped through a rough patch myself. Open Door Grief Support Policy I am very proud to be associated with Wings and am proudest […]

Being a Healing Listener

Healing Listening ‘Healing listening’, a term used by both James Miller and Paul Feider in their writing and their work with individuals who are grieving, is a priceless gift you can give someone who has experienced a loss.  Regardless of the type of loss, the person experiencing it feels pain, and that pain must be […]

When Is It Time For Hospice?

Hospice Benefit in Last Months Hospice care is a benefit for individuals in their last months of life.  Hospice regulations say that if a physician’s best estimate is that the individual has 6 months or less to live if his or her disease follows its typical course, that person is eligible for hospice services.  Hospice […]

Grief & Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warriors I have been especially moved lately by television commercials I have seen about wounded warriors.  A poignant story is shared about a soldier who has been severely injured in the line of duty.  The effect of the injury on this individual’s family is shared as well.  Some amazing examples of human determination combined with what to me […]

Life, Death, Hospice & Holidays

The Last Christmas I am reflecting this Christmas Eve on the people my hospice serves.  Most of our patients are celebrating the last Christmas they will ever have.  Families are poignantly aware that at this time next year, their loved one will not be with them.  I think that for some, this thought must be […]

Wings of Hope Hospice Staff

What is Palliative Care?

In presentations, I always describe ‘palliative care’ as a ‘fifty-dollar word for comfort care’’.  In truth, it means so much more, and I’m not sure I can do it justice.  A friend and colleague believes palliative care is the answer to all the woes of our health care system.  I agree with her.  It’s actually […]

Futile Care and Advance Directives

Futile Health Care The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘futile’ as ‘having no result or effect; pointless or useless’.  On a rainy day in November, after a week of early winter snow that has since melted, it is futile for me to mop my kitchen floor when three dogs continuously insist on going outdoors to play in […]