Caring for the Dying & Bereaved

Care for the Dying & Bereaved Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest who taught theology at several prestigious institutions including Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard.  Following his mother’s death in 1978, he became increasingly dissatisfied in his academic career and in 1985 he resigned.  He joined a community that welcomed and ministered to […]

Spring Growth

Spring is officially here. The periods of rain and sun are greening things up and tiny crocuses, violets and daffodils are beginning to pop up in our gardens and yards. New life is abundant in spring and the beauty that accompanies this new life, feels renewing. When someone is grieving they may not feel this […]

Grief Goes to Camp

A Day for Teens with Horses at Wings of Hope Camp PEGASUS Grief Camp A Day for Pegasus The campfire around which we will soon gather is just starting to really get going, and the smoke and smell and warmth of burning wood contrasts with the wet, cold grass. Just a tad of frost from […]

A Sapper Receives Military Honors

  As Spiritual Care Coordinator at Wings of Hope Hospice, I often lead “We Honor Vets” pinning ceremonies to honor military veterans at long-term care facilities. Along with patriotic music, readings and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, we present a framed certificate of honor and a pin to each resident veteran. A D-DAY […]

Could I Use a Support Group?

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the loss of someone or something special. It can be one of the toughest physical and emotional challenges that we experience.  The experience of grieving can be devastating. It is important at this time to reach out for support. Sometimes people don’t know where to turn for […]

Loveliness Enhanced by Debilitating Disease

The photos near her bed at the skilled nursing facility show her as robust. She was lean with sinewy muscles during her first fifty-five years. Her character was firm, too. The honor and integrity of her family yielded the attractiveness of a trustworthy individual. Her long dark mane of hair framed eyes alive with love […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Does Grief Have a Purpose?

Receiving the bad news Years ago, on September 5th, I got the call just before 10 p.m.  My friend and skydiving instructor Dennis had been killed in an ultralight accident that afternoon.  It was Labor Day and my brother was calling with the news. My initial reaction was physical.  I doubled over quickly, as though […]