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Hospice Mementos A Salutation to Dawn
Francis A. Martin, Ph.D.
Green Hills Press Nashville, Tennessee www.greenhillspress.com
© 2010 Dr. Francis A. Martin All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Cataloging-In-Publication Data Martin, Dr. Francis A. Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn Scribd Edition 1. Non-Fiction 2. Death and Dying 3. Grief 4. Religious Published with the services of Grave Distractions Publications:www.gravedistractions.com Cover, Interior Layout, and eBook conversion: Brian Kannard Scribd Edition Notes: Layout will differ slightly from the traditional print version of this text due to conventions suggested by Scribd.
Table of Contents
Introduction A Salutation to Dawn What is Hospice? To Cope with Hope More Than I Could Hope For Ms. Nurse Wisdom of the Heart The Eternal Now Tears Under Your Thumb Inside the World of Need What To Say To Them When They Grieve Needs, Fear, and Death: Care for the Caregiver The Flame Facing Grief with Faith Prayers for the Journey A Blessing for You About the Author
1 2 3 11 14 17 22 42 46 50 59 85 90 104 108 131 182 184
To all of you who smile openly administer injections speak frankly telephone with hellos listen carefully discuss medications provide comfort touch gently with compassion instruct about infection control send greeting cards offer prayers invent new ways to care risk caring volunteer for service deliver meals attend to wounds clean messes without notice come promptly pray frequently and sincerely keep going when rest is needed find resources for patients look for needs to be met and so much more this book is dedicated to you, from a grateful co-worker. Enjoy! Bless you!
Hospice Mementos intends to offer firm and solid inspiration to those who serve home care and hospice patients and their families. It comes from one who has observed the many services that are delivered to these patients. It comes from one who is grateful for the pain relieved, the hope inspired, the comfort offered, and the heartfelt care delivered. The structure of the materials invites you to browse and to find parts that provide what you need. This means that you may start anywhere in the book. Of all the individuals who may read this book, none is more important than family members who care for hospice patients. To them, I say, “Thank you for your loyalty and service to someone who is important to you.” Also, Hospice Mementos hopes to contribute to the well-being of all of you who serve home care and hospice patients and their families, including nurses, volunteers, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, physicians, administrators, support staff, and various therapists who care for patients. Thank you for all you do for home care and hospice patients and their families. Francis A. Martin, Ph.D.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
A Salutation to Dawn
The subtitle of this book, A Salutation to Dawn, comes from the following statement. As a salutation to dawn, this book is a hearty salute to those who serve hospice patients and their families. Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of existence: the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision. But every today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day. Such is the salutation of the dawn. From the Sanskrit
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
none of these things reveal the intensely personal experience of the person who faces imminent death or those who provide care for him/her. Medications. Patient Rights. and hospice staff become a part of a set of unusually intimate relationships. It provides brochures. In addition to reading this. In a place where a family member is dying. The terminally ill person is a person first and a then a patient. This is the organization that represents and serves hospices in America. including the patient. Family members are persons first and then patients. posters and other materials for hospices and individuals who are served by hospices. this discussion gives you an introduction to it. Many individuals are well-acquainted with hospice services. and so on. the patient‟s family. books. While a description of hospices generally and rightly gives information about Hospice Care Teams.What Is Hospice? Above all else. and the hospice staff. hospice service is intensely personal for everyone. you may want to go the web site of the National Hospice Organization. This is hospice. If you are one of those who may be uncertain about what hospice service is. Advanced Directives. friends. family. 3 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Some aren‟t. they enter an extraordinarily intimate place. And hospice staff are persons first and then servants for hospice patients and their families. video tapes. Many hospice professionals have said that as they repeatedly enter the home of a hospice patient.
this is likely a new and maybe confusing time for you. the fact is that hospice care gives attention to the patient as well as his/her family members. please contact a hospice near you. Still. professional. The recognize that hospice care is complete only when family needs are understood and met. Also. another indicator of caring for the family is that hospices keep a patient‟s file open for one year after the patient‟s death so that bereavement services may be 4 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . If you have a need for hospice services.If you or your family believe that you may need hospice services. They know how to give attention to your needs in a way that is understanding. While the need for hospice services in itself is understandably distressing. For hospice professionals. they will become etched in your memory as some of the most important persons in your life. supportive. And if you have an ongoing relationship with hospice staff. For example. The delivery of hospice services gets to be a little more complex. than this statement may suggest. because they typically spend about as much time with family members as they spend with the patient. This appears to be a fairly simple statement. The short story is that hospices take care of terminally ill individuals and their families. You will likely be pleased with and comforted by the skilled caring and sensitivity of the hospice staff. and confidential. though. This is seen easily when hospice care workers visit with the patient.” This is unusual in medical care. your need is not new and confusing. your contact with a hospice is not likely to be distressing. hospice care includes “the family.
Hospice Care Team Also. Home based Compared with most medical care. free of pain. Also. most terminally ill patients wish to live their last days in their homes. Volunteers Another unusual feature of hospice service is that it makes extensive use of volunteers. and a chaplain. When hospices emerged in America in the early nineteen seventies. too. The team may include others. From the beginning of hospices in America. They 5 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . They are a physician. The basic hospice care team includes four members. Also. is unusual in medical care. and to assure that the patient maintains dignity through as much self-management as possible. a nurse. too.provided for the family. another unusual feature of hospice care is that almost all of it occurs in the patient‟s home. Most families prefer this. such as a speech therapist or a volunteer. delivering care in the patient‟s home is preferred by hospices. although hospices residences--small hospital-like facilities--have arisen over the last ten years or so. they were staffed entirely by volunteers. This. hospice care always includes a hospice care team that is defined more broadly than other medical care teams. almost all of the care has occurred in the patient‟s home. because hospice service assumes that the primary medical goal of hospice care is to keep the patient comfortable. a social worker.
The patient‟s minister. They represent the enduring spirit of hospice care. So. So. Spiritual Help Because hospices attempt to meet a broad range of patient and family needs. Hospice spiritual care is based on a high respect for the patient‟s and caregiver‟s personal faith and belief. the volunteer tradition continues to be a strong one in the delivery of hospice services.grew quickly. rabbi. nutritionists. though. Depending on patient needs. By providing spiritual caregivers from the patient‟s and family‟s religious tradition. 6 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and needed to expand their staffs so that they could meet the needs of their patients. These boards demonstrate the hospice obligation to deliver care that is extraordinarily sensitive to the unique needs of hospice patients and their families. In addition. priest. Volunteers are much more than free labor. Most hospices have boards of directors or boards of advisors that are composed largely of volunteers. those who deliver hospice services may also include home health aides. they seek to lead them gently and lovingly to discover answers to their own spiritual questions. the Congress passed legislation that gave hospice patients the benefit of Medicare funding. in the early nineteen eighties. and others. counselors. This legislation included a requirement that hospices that became Medicare certified would deliver a minimum of five percent of their services through volunteers. mullah. they usually offer resources for spiritual and emotional care. they began to hire staff.
social workers. Medicine At no cost to patients. say. For example. the hospice can help with other things. this medication would not be covered by the hospice. the same patient. One of the most important 7 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . the medications that may be needed because of this disease would be provided by the hospice. and others. Advanced Directives Hospice care is a special kind of caring. If nothing else. It includes chaplains. each hospice can provide a chaplain. If. if a patient suffers with lung cancer.or other spiritual leader may be included as a member of the hospice care team. however. too. Hospices assume that the pain of grief is normal and that many families need very little assistance from their hospice. While giving primary attention to the personal needs of the patient and the patient‟s family. spilled hot soup on her leg and needed medication to treat the consequent burn. such as a hospital bed. too. Hospices provide medical equipment. hospices provide medications that are related to the disease that will likely cause the patient‟s death. Bereavement Services Every hospice maintains a bereavement program for hospice families. This program is available for one year following the patient‟s death. They also assume that some families struggle with their loss with a level of difficulty that may necessitate assistance.
It includes samples of the documents listed above and several others. (An excellent resource for end-of-life planning is Richard Harmon‟s Managing Your Family‟s Business: A Workbook for Preparing for End-of-Life Situations.kinds of help is that hospices are a resource for help with advanced directives. These and other documents provide legal support for fulfilling the patient‟s wishes. These directives include such documents as: Living Will. It also includes explanations of many other aspects of end-of-life planning. for example. it becomes a “life” settlement. if a 8 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.) Viatical Settlements Also. advanced directives are specific ways of preparing for incapacity by executing certain directives or wishes about the kind of medical care that a patient will receive. while a viatical settlement is not an advanced directive. In addition. a viatical settlement allows individuals to use their life insurance policies for medical care. it is proving to be very helpful for many hospice families. In short. and others. Do-Not-Resuscitate Order. planning a funeral. As a relatively new resource for individuals and families. In advance of becoming incapacitated by illness. Instead of being a “death” settlement. and others. such as preparing contact lists of names for emergencies. hospices often help with other documents and planning. making bequests.
While viatical settlement companies are fairly new. not the hospice. So. the patient can use a physician with whom she/he is already familiar or elect to use the hospice physician.hospice patient has a life insurance policy with a face value of ten thousand dollars. a physician of the patient‟s choice maintains medical care. 9 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . nine thousand dollars. Patient rights Each hospice must inform patients about their rights as patients. they are safe and useful for hospice patients and their families. if her/his disease follows its normal course. these rights include such things as rights not to be discriminated against. two physicians must certify that an individual is likely to die within a six-month period. Physicians At least. Because of this. say. to participate in medical decisions. are in charge of their lives. they are regulated by the respective state in which they operate. Viatical settlement companies may be found easily through a search of the Internet. to information about any fees that may be charged to the patient. To execute one of these settlements. The main point of most of the rights that patients have is that they. usually. to confidentiality. and much more. to dignity and respect. a patient would need to contact his/her life insurance company or a viatical settlement company. Hospices have their own physicians. Typically. In addition. the patient may sell the policy to a viatical settlement company for a discounted amount.
and more spiritual than technical. The most common is routine care. this kind of care allows caregivers. they should be understood as more human than medical. Other kinds of care are continuous care--up to twenty-four hours a day--and in-patient care. In short.Levels of Care Hospices deliver several levels of care. 10 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . home health aides. hospice services are more complex than this brief presentation can describe. and others make regular visits to the home and deliver the services that are needed. Obviously.” much of it is fairly common for hospice caregivers. chaplains. social workers. more caring than administrative. to take a break and to be relieved by a hospice-provided caregiver. Despite how complex they are. In this category. nurses. While hospice care is never simply “routine. Another level of care is respite care. such as a spouse of the patient.
except you and your life. I believed that we were looking at an illness. Retirement. I noticed your change of color. I saw you begin to move uneasily. You seemed to be more interested in fighting the illness than in knowing that your life may be at risk. I figured back then that if you were strong. And when it became clear to me that your life was at stake. My irritation changed to concern. I supported you as you walked. Vacations. you would take care of yourself without my help. sad and tired eyes. I concluded that I would help you to be weak and overly dependent. While I was concerned about you. I really was irritated by the inconvenience of having to help you with your appointments and treatments. I looked at your eyes as they changed from clear. Nothing mattered. clear and bright eyes to blurred . But you stayed sick. stumbling instead of transitioning gracefully from one place to another. one of those things that distracts us from the really important other things we do. Money.To Cope with Hope I lived with your dying for a long time. because you lacked the stamina to make it on your own. House. At first. 11 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Sex. It was a nuisance back then. I became scared at the prospect that this may be an illness from which you may not recover. nothing else mattered. if I did for you what you could do for yourself. Lawn. Job.
Maybe. you know how lost I was. I shall never forget you. though. It was not important. I joined the battle as best I could. but the questions no longer gnaw at me every day. you know the catastrophic tangle of despair that I felt without you. How could I have missed the significance of your illness? I did not have the luxury of attending to my guilt. you know that nothing had meaning to me without you.I felt guilty. Maybe. your life. could not sustain you. So. but not every day. without feeling guilty. now. 12 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The person for whom he lived? The woman whose companionship gave his life meaning? The woman whom he adored? The shared dreams that will never come true? The one with whom he expected to live for another forty or forty-five years or so? These questions are pretty well settled. Your illness was not about me. Our best efforts. I shall never forget you. Maybe. It was about life. I needed so much for you to know and to understand. The questions still come up. Maybe. you know how I could not sleep or think about going on without you. and certainly not all day long. How could I? How does a man forget the love of his life.
really enjoy. I remind myself of this and of how you would want me stop hurting and to nurture life. I remind myself of this. Now. To be sure. though.The struggle goes on. but my life is not. new struggles arise. I am giving myself enough slack to enjoy. without despair and with serious doses of enjoyment. without feeling guilty. As I continue to live. I no longer want to build a shrine to you and to worship you there. I no longer feel guilty for laughing. You certainly would not have wanted me to live my life in despair. It is different now. I no longer visit you at the cemetery. as I once did. I believe that you would want me to enjoy life. The guilt is gone. too. but the love is not. I am alive. The guilt is gone. despair no longer has a grip on me. I wonder how I can cope with hope? Without you. how do I cope with hope? 13 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . a meal.
The night is particularly difficult. His furrowed face shows such deep concern. It will kill me. And when we turn off the lights. I ask myself whether I may do myself f and others a favor by killing myself. As the black of night surrounds the house. with no control over what is done to me. most important. Is this my last night? Did I just 14 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The terror does. he smiles. I would like to live without it. causes me to feel quite sad. Still. The picture of me as one whose body goes silently and emotionless from one day to the next. but I won‟t. I choke on the terror. If I kill myself. eliminating. As much as he tries to play the hero for me.More Than I Could Hope For Is today the day I die? I‟m not sure. thinking. instead of allowing my illness to steal the functioning parts of my body until I have no control over any aspect of my body--eating moving. the alarm of a million gunshots aimed at my heart. as if his smiling may become such a habit that he will be happy because he can‟t stop smiling. The dark and the terror close in. Of course. and maybe. I do know that the illness that has accompanied me for the past four years has become such a part of my life that I cannot live without it. I can at least manage the timing of my death. I feel like death may be speaking to me in a louder and louder voice each night. Thus. doing everything he can to make me comfortable. his eyes show a lot of hurt and his slumped shoulders show defeat. though. I look at my husband. The bullets never hit me. even smiling.
I try to give thanks for all of my life. For making my mother a ceramic sculpture for Mother‟s Day. 15 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You Can Count on Me” with my cousin. between me and. who seemed to provide an anchor for me when I was adrift. For falling in love and getting married. I brood about what death might mean to me and my family. with all the special people in my life. I ponder death. but life is all questions for me.get the last glimpse of my mother‟s picture? Did I feel the cold and beautiful tile on the bathroom floor for the last time? If I close my eyes. I can‟t help but speak out loud. For sweet secrets kept. For flipping an umbrella under my older sister‟s skirt and exposing her panties in a crowd of other kids. For kisses. For family debates while we ate dinner. For the big tree next to the drive way that we climbed and to which we tied our swings. will I ever see the taupe headboard wall again? Can I trace the seams of the quilt on the bed with my fingers enough to convince myself that I‟m not dead yet? Have I spoken my last word? Sometimes. between me and my Mom. For my grandmother. between me and my son. We never could tell what it was. Yes. Have I seen my kids for the last time? I hate that question. between me and my husband. so far. For making pictures with my dad on the turnaround with sidewalk chalk. There are no answers when your life is quite possibly only one breath longer. just to know that I am still alive. For singing “Darling. my other mother. I really have little else to think about.
I try to be neutral. For now. but every attempt to give attention to these things slides into terror as I recognize that I want to feel thankful for them because I am near the time when I will lose them forever. I am ready to rest. Feeling you touching me is more than I could hope for. I want to claim some small measures of being normal. I try to be as mindless as I can be. to be curious. to know what everyone else who is important to me is doing. figure out what is happening. Thank you. now. But more important. instead of giving attention to gratitude and allowing terror to overcome me. but I am not good at being mindless. now. 16 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I don‟t feel the terror. listening to your voice and feeling your hand on mine are more than I could ever hope for. listening to my music is okay.I really am thankful for many things. I need to think about things. So.
She explains patient rights to Mr. Nurse. a competent and caring professional. just as she delivered routine services to hospice patients and their families. Ms Nurse responds. that‟s wonderful. and Mrs. She maneuvers Mrs. I‟m sure you do. including the services of nurses. She explains the role of her attending physician. Purveys so as to complete the physical examination that admission procedures require and explains every move she makes. chaplains. She preferred perfection and received rewards that accompany such a preference. as good now as when he met her sixty nine years ago. He says that Susan is a good woman.Ms. Nurse explains the forms that she must complete. “That‟s wonderful.” She explains that maintaining the spark of love in a relationship contributes to marital well-being and to one‟s general mental and physical health. Sam speaks. She explains the fees arrangement that comes with the Medicare Hospice Benefit. her primary caregiver. sir. Sam. you 17 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . responds. Ms. Ms. She explains the benefits of the hospice program. demanded of herself that she measure up to high standards. social workers. Nurse Ms. “Yes. home health aides. she delivered her impeccable services to Mrs. volunteers. Nurse. Purveys. and others. Sam speaks. Susan Purveys. He says that he loves Susan as much now as he did when he married her fifty three years ago. a hospice patient and her husband. Thus.
after all these years. She is my joy. “Everything good that I know is what I learned because I know her. She makes me what I am as a man. including marriage. as if to nurture her to health. Sam speaks. Nurse says that she believes she hears what Mr. Nurse with his words. reflectively. adding that maturity calls for adults to carry their responsibility for themselves in every relationship.have a very good view of your wife. Nurse states that she heard Mr. Sam speaks.” She explains that having a high estimation of one‟s spouse makes problem solving much easier and brings general satisfaction with life. that she is a good woman. Ns. over a period of several years. kindly. instead of allowing a marital relationship to become stale. Purveys is saying. “Do you hear what I‟m saying?” Ms. and that they always look for the good in each other. 18 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . She explains that her training for listening well takes several forms. She explains that professional health care providers are trained to listen well. “I‟m so glad to hear that. Sam speaks. Purveys say that he loves his wife. Ms. She is my comfort. including numerous group projects that require careful listening and just as many conversations with supervisory nurses. slowly. He says that he and Susan really enjoy each other. Nurse responds. and embraces Ms. I‟ve never questioned whether I should believe what she says. and that they really enjoy being together.” She explains that couples should find ways to enjoy each other. Squirming a little. “What is that?” Sam asks.
I was slow to ask her to marry me because I had so little to offer her. And I cut my leg real bad once in a car wreck. And we have. of course. And we pretty much have done that. too. I don‟t know. And. But otherwise. she has let me know that I am loved. When we were dating. when Susan was late in her pregnancies and right after the kids were born. I could not afford to entertain Susan. But I do know that if every minute I‟ve got until then will be used to make her as comfortable as she can be. We stayed busy with other things. 19 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . of course. I am so proud to know her. We just about wore out the road in front of her house. and that I am important to her. More often than not. you know. we walked. It looks like I can‟t lay down my life for hers because she will go first. talked and held hands. And I do the same for her. we just walked. After we married. Even in her illness. Even when we had two kids. I wonder. we decided that we would always walk a lot together. even if I had to lay down my life for hers. of course. the more we knew that no one else in the world knew us as well as we knew each other. though. We started to walk because we couldn‟t afford to do anything else. But the more we walked and the more we talked. She seemed to feel the same way about herself. whether I have heard the last words she will ever say. I would be honored to do so.Now. We said that we would keep things simple. we still couldn‟t afford much. you know. So. we still walked a lot. Except. but we always walked. we walked. That didn‟t seem to matter to her. as we walked back then. We were involved with kids and school and a lot of community activities. except for me. But.
We let ourselves go with each other.but we walked. without suspecting that the other one might be getting his way. It has always been enjoyable just knowing her. “I fight against letting it be simple. We found that life is not about explaining. when you go to homes and see death about to happen. I know that and understand it. It‟s simple. He surveyed the face of the nurse. It is about walking and talking. I do want to invite you into our home. That‟s okay.” Sam stopped. It must be difficult to let your guard down. without making it a contest between us. without fear that the other one may have secret uses for it. We could play with the kids. I understand it if you want to keep your guard up. loving and letting yourself be loved. as if to wonder whether she had heard what he said. as if you are as welcome as 20 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I believe that she understood me as well as I understood myself and I understood her as well as she understood herself. We learned to be honest. Whether you enjoy it or not. though. again. if you let it be. without contaminating our decisions with unspoken questions or feelings. you still have a job to do. We could manage our money. We were truly free. Sam spoke. We could decorate the house. And we found such joy in that. We know that we could buy groceries. We just talked. I would never want to change what you need to do for yourself. When you come to our home to care for us. whether she had allowed herself to be simple and unexplained. you have a job to do. And we never followed a script. But it is. to let it all show.
less able than ever before to take care of herself. just like she was your most intimate friend? Would you listen to her with the heart of a sister? You see. Would you let her have the comfort of a friend. by being a friend with her? We prefer to have a friend and not a stranger caring for her while she is at her worst. again. There was nothing to explain. And I‟m asking you to join us. He searched the room through the blurred vision of tear-filled eyes.anyone who could come here. though. he tried to do the good thing. as he spoke. In exposing his lifelong devotion to Susan. and held him. sat beside him. even in the face of death. even as his words were close to anguished silence. In this moment. Would you let us know you? Would you let yourself be known? Would you talk with Susan. His nurse moved to him. It‟s still our walk together. I want to invite you to come into our lives and to experience with us this new intimacy.” Sam felt the impending loss of his life-long friend. He could not turn his eyes in any direction that would conceal his pain. He spoke in a voice that told everything. His lip curled. this walk together until Susan dies. She cried. with the tension of uncontrolled emotion. He told his nurse that life is worthwhile. He stopped. he exposed his impending loss. In a tired body. though. he had exhausted himself. there aren‟t many ways that Susan is going to find comfort these days. His tears flowed. Sam slumped. We still walk: it‟s just that now we do everything but move our feet. He choked. maybe with the knowledge that he would not lift his shoulders. 21 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
When we lose a spouse. Read and take what you need. we lose our future. The collection rests on the belief that many individuals have offered important messages for those who search for understanding. Remind yourself always to make your waiting productive.~ Earl Grollman Of course. you must wait. we lose our past. You are never prepared for the death of a loved one. ~Robert DiGuillio When we lose a parent. be still and do nothing. gifts from many individuals who have thoughtfully considered the basic questions about life and death. When all is said and done. love. we lose our present. for at the end only love matters. 22 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Each item in the collection has been added to this collection because it says something significant about life and death. even when that death comes after a long and serious illness. unless you are waiting for someone to die.Wisdom of the Heart Note: This is a collection of wisdom. sometimes. when we face life-challenging events. In this case. even if you do no more than to produce a grocery list or to observe nice things about where you‟re waiting. And when we lose a child.
Enjoy. if you must. Think of every coming home as a family re-union. it dies from accrued disappointment—slowly.~ Kenneth J. Your dearest ones come from everywhere and anywhere. Enjoy. and to become what we are capable of becoming. They can teach you about life. Look for joy. But it doesn‟t go on forever. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson Study the lives of those who overcome adversity and find fulfillment. because our grief is bound up with our love and we could not cease to mourn without being robbed of our affections. use your life in a way that you like. To be what we are. And cry. is the only end of life. It just does.~ Robert Brooks Your child comes home from school. People bring us well meant but miserable consolations when they tell us what time will do to help our grief. The end of grief is not the end of memory. It is.Until physical death removes it. love never dies suddenly. Find joy. Your spouse comes home from work. Enjoy. May I try to tell you again where your only comfort lies? It is not in forgetting the happy past. So. 23 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . but the end of memory with great pain. We do not want to lose our grief. Every homecoming is a family reunion. Doka Life goes on. Choose joy.
24 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . if you are able. ~ George Bernard Shaw Test your limits of understanding. your energy. and your love.~ Meister Eckhart Get a check up. as limited as you may be. Then. Period! Enjoy the limits of your time. Refuse. This is especially true when you grieve. however. to let your caution to cause you to reject help sometimes. One for your mind. now and then. because with love the struggle makes much better sense. use your check up to make your relationships healthier than they are. And one for your spirit. still he cannot refrain from going out and taking an active part in life. One for your relationships. Even if he is given to a life of contemplation. One check up for your body. You are one person in one place at one time doing one thing.Heartbreak is life educating us. Give attention to love. You may find that they aren‟t limits. because in receiving help you are a blessing to the one who helps you. or give yourself one. at least as much as you give attention to struggle. No person in this life may reach the point at which he can be excused from service. We are rightly cautious about receiving help from others when we don‟t pay them.
~ Richard Baxter 25 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Sand stars. In doubtful things. your helpfulness confirms your worthiness. Being alive is okay. The beauty of life comes from turbulence. there are sand stars. ~ Numbers 6:25-26 (Aaronic Blessing) If your words help others. including the turbulence of grieving. They are dunes that are shaped like stars. Feel what is right for you to feel. and be gracious unto you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you. A hug needed and received.The Lord bless you. Beauty is created by turbulence. Holidays are small markers of our lives being lived: the big markers will always be personal and not very well known. with starfish tentacles that may reach several hundred yards. Life is its own justification. unity. liberty. In all things. and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you. You are okay. A special word spoken. created over long periods of time by turbulent winds. Yes. You do not have to justify your existence. This is a statement about life. knowing that each feeling is natural and necessary. No matter what your status may otherwise be. charity. even it feels bad. and give you peace. being alive. your life is useful. In necessary things. A secret shared.
but you are never wrong. unremembered acts of kindness and love. knowing that you don‟t have to explain it. choose the ones about which you can predict that good will more likely come. ~ William Wordsworth If you try to create something good. We know the answer. And how we live poses options of great variety. The question is how we live. The best portion of a good man‟s [woman‟s] life is little. Enjoy loving. The question is not whether we die. Play with sidewalk chalk. You may be mistaken. yes.It is infinitely easier to suffer with others than to suffer alone. Enjoy playing. It is infinitely easier to suffer as public heroes than to suffer apart and in ignominy. but you can never enjoy yourself too much. you are never wrong. knowing that you don‟t have to explain your “art” beyond the next rain. nameless. You may play too much. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer Hospitality is the business of home. Love is like this. It is infinitely easier to suffer physical death than to endure spiritual suffering. Among them. 26 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
as if there is no yesterday. Then do not grasp at the stars. certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. common work as it comes. but you don‟t have to. duties at your hand. You can always find something to worry about. flowers at your feet. Hate. And it is yours. Robert Louis Stevenson 27 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The best things are the nearest: breath in your nostrils. Just because you serve God—or try to—doesn‟t mean that you always feel good. Claim peace for yourself. as if there is no tomorrow. Love. It‟s free. Neither talent nor money can supplant love. the path of God just before you.Just because it feels bad doesn‟t mean that it is bad. light in your eyes. Just think of giving birth. but do life‟s plain.
Never conclude otherwise. Love is the bread of relationships. you are one person in one place at one time doing one thing. profitable words. because it is so basic to life. demand almost always turn against you. You will not go wrong.Bread is good. stirring words. It is basic. no doubt. Learn the difference between requests and demands. This will never change. Writing words--even good words. really living life. maybe. Period. How can you live well without it? “Hope” is the thing with feathers— That perches in the soul— And sings the tune without the words— And never stops—at all— Emily Dickinson Listen carefully to your needs. Do we decide questions at all? We decide answers. No matter how many projects you take on. but surely the questions decide us. living is seldom so. Lewis Carroll Death may be truly peaceful. 28 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Requests may or may not get your needs met. Follow them. wise words. or passionate words--is no substitute for living. defeating your needs.
29 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . your quiet presence comforts me and your gentle touch restores me. You do this for yourself. You are the most important judge of what you think. When you have to make a choice and don‟t make it. Forgiveness means only that you give up your claim to get even. Never give away this prerogative. When nothing can be said to ease my pain. knowing that your best grasp of it never holds it firmly. William James Along with earthquakes and sunrises. sunshine and sunburns. When push comes to shove. you have already taken misunderstanding too far.Seek the truth. blooming vines and roaring volcanoes. life and death are natural. feel and do. not for the one who may have injured you. You don‟t have to learn to love being touched. It is natural and good. that is in itself a choice.
we suffer.” from a sincere heart. life because of our quiet. the more likely you are to receive even more of it. “I love you. Never let the fear of it control you. The more of it you pass on. you live. We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us. Sooner or later. The most expensive pen and the words that come from it don‟t matter as much as a crayon-scrawled. There is no need to lie about this. Neither is there a need to live in dread of suffering. Applause. perhaps even with a fiercer. None of these matters as much as heartfelt affection that comes to us in simple ways. It happens. When you love. Awards. and so live for a moment with a clearer. While episodes of suffering come. that they may see their own images. 30 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Plaques. Prizes. Recognize loss. Trophies. immerse yourself in the enjoyment of life in between them. Memberships. William Butler Yeats Certificates.Love is a serious and wonderful gift.
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other. Rainer Maria Rilke Bless others; smile at them and speak their names clearly. Listen to your body‟s constant call to health. The joy of loving is, among other things, the heart‟s mirror image of the pain of losing. Attending to pain receives permission best after we have attended to joy. If a man [or woman] does not keep pace with his [her] companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau You may have to live in a crowd, but you do not have to live like it, nor subsist on its food. You may have your own orchard. You may drink at a hidden spring. Be yourself if you would serve others.~Henry van Dyke
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Never hesitate to send a card to a troubled person. An injured, diseased, or grieving person can be very lonely. Will it matter that I was? The best summary of our importance is love. What is life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? ~ William Henry Davies I have come to feel that there is hardly anything more radically mean and deteriorating than, as it were, sulking through the inevitable, and just simply counting the hours till it passes.~ Baron F. Von Hugel Look at family pictures when they are offered to you; they usually show you a history of love. Audiences are crowds that give you approval when you do well, but not love. Never confuse the two. The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.~ Robert Ingersoll Such was ever love‟s way: to rise, it stoops. ~ Robert Browning We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.~ Calvin Coolidge Take your biggest satisfaction is in knowing that you give to those who cannot give to you.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
He who lacks time to mourn lacks time to mend. ~ William Shakespeare If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes. ~Clement of Alexandria “When I think about all I have lost, I don‟t know how I could go on. I sit and stare, confused and trying to make sense of my life. I don‟t know how I will go on, but I know that I will. I know that she would want me to have a good life.” A grieving widower The highest privilege there is, is the privilege of being allowed to share another‟s pain. You talk about your pleasures to your acquaintances; you talk about your troubles to your friends. ~Father. Andrew SDC Seven Words from the Cross When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things: there will be earth to stand on or you will be given wings to fly. Love, honesty, helping, children--try to be clear about the values that are most important to you. And then try to live by them. This is hard, but it brings such fulfillment.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms made music of unforgettable significance, but their music is not nearly as important as the music from a mother‟s or father‟s heart when they deliver a lullaby to her or his infant. This is music of eternal significance. Try not to despise or to oppose what you do not understand. Be curious. You may come to like what you had despised. Stay well. Love deeply. Enjoy. Courage flows from faith. Yes, when it is the courage that flows from open-eyed faith. When minds and hearts slam shut in self-proclaimed joy, there is no courage. Certainty of mind and heart doesn‟t need courage. There is action, but little courage. Open-eyed, that is open-minded and open-hearted, faith feels the risks and acts, anyway, knowing that the thing about which she is most certain is that she is uncertain. This is the faith and courage of friendship. The fact is that we learn to care about people with whom we work. Maybe, caring for them is one of the two important jobs we have at work. The other, of course, is to do the work that we are paid to do. However, when someone with whom we work dies, we take on a third job for a while: grieving. Grief is hard work.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
While grief is always uniquely personal, a group of workers can help themselves by such things as a memorial service at the workplace or an active tribute to the deceased co-worker such as helping a community service agency in the deceased name, a memorial center with a photograph and flowers in the work place for a period of time, or a specific service for the deceased‟s family (mowing the grass for a season or helping to provide transportation for the children for a while). “Be ye, therefore, as wise as serpents and gentle as doves,” said Jesus. A current statement of the same belief is that the healthy person learns to love more deeply and to hate more wisely. Truth is given [and received], not to be contemplated, but to be done. Life is an action, not a thought. [Freedom comes in knowing this.] ~F. W. Robertson You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. ~ Jesus of Nazareth Freedom is precious. Freedom from fear is the most precious kind. The Gift: Love is a serious and wonderful gift. The more of it you pass on, the more of likely you are to receive even more of it.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
The worship of God is not a rule of safety--it is an adventure of the spirit, a flight after the unattainable. The death of religion comes with the repression of the high hope of adventure.~ Alfred North Whitehead Test your limits of understanding. You may find that they are not limits. Love Love is like a rose And you are the stem When the peadals are gone The love has been taken And you are left in the cold. But then you grow new peatals And your heart is full of warmth. ~Susan Yvonne Martin, 9 years of age You are the most important judge of what you think, feel and do. Never give away this prerogative to anyone else. The root of the matter is a very simple and oldfashioned thing, a thing so simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it for fear of the derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The thing I mean—please forgive me for mentioning it—is love. ~ Bertrand Russell
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
“ When I think about all I have lost, I don‟t know how I could go on. I sit and stare, confused and trying to make sense of my life. I don‟t know how I will go on, but I know that I will. I know that she would want me to have a good life.”~A grieving widower Listen carefully to your needs. Follow them. You will not go wrong. If you try to create something good, you are never wrong. You may be mistaken, yes, but you are never wrong. Feel what is right for you to feel, knowing that each feeling is natural and necessary, even if it feels bad to you. Of course, you must wait, sometimes. Remind yourself always to make your waiting productive, even if you do no more than to produce a grocery list or to observe nice things about where you‟re waiting. Live today as you want to remember yourself tomorrow. "In his attitude toward religious dialogue and synthesis, as in his openness to the world and his willingness to help solve its problems, Merton was far ahead of his time. He sometimes overlooked important questions of implementation while looking ahead to a vision of unity that lay in the future. He is a prime candidate for patron saint to a new generation that
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
” in Psychosocial Care of the Dying Patient 38 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . these may well be his main problems. to build a new world of unity. Yet. a generation that seeks through action. Baker "It is rare to find among all the results of investigations. more religious than Christian. Merton was a Catholic. Feelings of failure and an obscure sense of guilt are part of any deteriorating illness whether or not someone knows that he is dying. nations. James T. more human than religious. Thomas Merton. People who have had a protracted illness are inevitably worried about job and family. and prayers. words. his love. and examinations with which a patient‟s case papers are filled any comment on his feelings or estimation of his insight into what is happening. ~ Cicely Saunders. and not least his poetic vision. Perhaps the Age of Aquarius will be the age of one of the most outstanding Aquarians. x-rays.rejects a world divided into races. “Terminal Care. and religions." ~Thomas Merton: Social Critic. finances and other responsibilities and are apprehensive about the future. Silence and avoidance build up a barrier between them and everyone else. Too often they are left alone with these fears and only receive reassurances which they strongly suspect to be false. Because of his life. but he was more Christian than Catholic. They are not stupid just because they are ill but they cannot break through the barrier alone and they too join the conspiracy of silence". he will have a wider audience in the future than he has had in the past.
and Thanksgiving Day. anyway. when it is the courage that flows from open-eyed faith.Probably the most important factor affecting the support doctors provide for their patients is their ability to separate the need to help a patient from the role of healer. This is the faith and courage of friendship. You are one person in one place at one time doing one thing. When minds and hearts slam shut in self-proclaimed joy. Maximal prolongation of life may not be the patient‟s priority. There is action. However. Open-eyed. Courage flows from faith. They are dunes that are shaped like stars. knowing that the thing about which she is most certain is that she is uncertain. that is open-minded and open-hearted. This is a statement about life. the truly big markers of life 39 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . faith feels the risks and acts. Freedom from fear is the most precious kind. but little courage. Including New Year‟s Day. there are sand stars. there is no courage. holidays are small markers of our lives being lived. Valentine‟s Day. Certainty of mind and heart doesn‟t need courage. Yes. Period! Sand stars. Yes. Barger Freedom is precious. Beauty is created by turbulence. with starfish tentacles that may reach several hundred yards. ~ Sandra L. created over long periods of time by turbulent winds.
A prayer sent. or passionate words--is no substitute for living. ~ Charlotte Bronte Enjoy. really living life. And cry. Better to be without logic than without feeling. Look for joy. A secret shared. stirring words. 40 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . wise words.being lived will always be personal and not very well known. Opt for joy. A needed visit made. Enjoy. if you must. The personal markers are always more important than the bigger ones. A hug needed and received. A birthday remembered. Writing words--even good words. profitable words. A special word spoken. Find joy. Enjoy.
Will it matter that I was? The best summary of our importance is love. Live! What else can you do? You can live with the expectation that life endures longer than you can know. The sacred and precious fact of life will not change. This is just the beginning. It requires of us only that we make it good for ourselves and all others whom we meet. Nurturing a child toward goodness. Take your biggest satisfaction in knowing that you give to those who cannot give to you. and the active fulfillment of other basic values makes us forever significant. generosity. Look at family pictures when they are offered to you. live. 41 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Life is. So. loyalty. effective living. you live. Life never requires justification. One frequent question that comes with the facts of life and death is whether it will matter that we have lived. they usually show you a history of love.When you love. The answer is known almost entirely by the quality of our parenting.
This is not what I do well. I wait. I just don‟t know. I failed and felt like a fool. That‟s what human beings do. You don‟t seem to be as concerned as I am. I don‟t know whether to be afraid or to celebrate. No nothing. but how little difference they made. Of course. It seems crazy. I try to tell myself that it‟s not real. Nothing. No reading. But I wait. How could I? What could compare with the question of whether I live or die? And it all comes down to a phone call. Am I going live or die? I just don‟t know. How many special 42 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I can‟t concentrate on anything else. that it will just go away. It is an important call.The Eternal Now I wait. you know. to plan for the end or scream with joy because I can begin again. if I just go on with everything that I am supposed to be doing. though? I think about times I have failed and felt life a fool and how important those times seemed to be at the time. No work. Not a darn thing. You know what I think about . I expect the call to come any minute. No television. This is really happening to me. How many summer days I have to walk in the grass and maybe how limited they are. So. But all I can do right now is wait. but it‟s real. And I wait some more. What do you do when you just don‟t know? I don‟t know. But I think more about how much I have to do. But this call could tell me whether I live or I die some time soon.
but I don‟t want to know what the answer is. I wait. It‟s getting close to four thirty. some food. I want to sip every drop of it slowly and let every minute of it--good and bad--fill me beyond my capacity to hold it or to imagine it. now.moments I might want to hug my kids that I won‟t have any more. The idea of death cuts pretty deep right now. With so little of life left. When the phone rings. How many gifts I would like to give. So. And I wonder what things might be life when I am gone. but I would have had to wait until tomorrow. If I had wings. I would just enjoy the freedom of flying around and going anywhere I wanted to go. She promised me she would. We‟ll see. I don‟t want to. maybe some money. So. 43 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I‟m just here waiting. I guess that‟s the way you thing when you realize how precious life is. But I know I‟m stuck here. here I am. I don‟t know what to think. I asked her to call me today. Dr. Coles said that she would call at four thirty. It‟s hard to do that. I don‟t know. maybe clothes. especially to people who need something from me--you know. I could have gone to her office after she got the results from the lab. I‟m talking about whatever it takes to make life better for someone for whom I can make a difference. I feel like my insides are flying. I can‟t avoid it. I don‟t know. a real difference. I have to think about how I can take advantage of whatever life I have left. But for now I wait. waiting. but I‟m not going anywhere. I‟d fly out of here right now. I hope I can answer it.
. That‟s what I‟m saying.N. You know... R. when it comes right down to a matter of life and death. .. we have to place our weight on life. 44 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .I.. I have to consider what I do with the rest of my life.. trying to make things better for me and my family.. Life must be treated as a precious thing.... But I have to face the truth..G! Oh. I want to discover ways of b being good.G! Hello... and try to do everything we can to make life better.Look at me. no matter what it is. work. Not just as a big idea that sounds good. but by doing all I can for as many people as I can. I sigh so heavily I might blow you away. bills. It is a matter of setting aside what others might think and doing what is right. Does this make sense to you? When you are waiting for a phone call that tells you that you are going to die.. you think a lot more about life. But. I feel like I must do everything I can to make life better.. I‟m not very clear about exactly I should do. Of course. God.I. I have to think about the fact that I may not have much life. but a lot of things have gotten in the way. of doing good.. You know. what I feel is most strongly about inside. And..N. I have always wanted to do what is right and to appreciate every precious moment of life. money. It is a matter of acting in ways that match my conscience. what do I do now? R. .. What kind of life do I want it to be? I guess the answer is that.. no matter what I hear.. but I do know that I will do what is right.....
Blah. And I don‟t know what to do with it. For one thing. I just got a fax from the lab. all the screens are negative. blah. this is Doctor Coles. if you have a minute. Life has begun again. now that I know I‟ve got it. And I just wanted to go over some of it with you.Hi. For once . there‟s not much to go over. I‟ll just wait. But I‟m not sure what to do with all the life I‟ve got. I guess I‟ll go to work tomorrow. they got it to me on time. blah. None of the things we prepared you for were there. for nothing. So. There‟s none of the things we expected. I hope we didn‟t get you too stirred up. I don‟t know what to think. I have to take time to absorb this. for now. blah. but essentially. blah. I guess I have more life that I thought I would. I‟d be glad to ago over any of the details you want. 45 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . you‟re okay. Now. Actually. So. what do I do? I have a new start. I‟m okay. basically.
Being known after someone dies exposes bittersweet and confusing secrets: Life is. the simple knowledge of being loved and the dreadful knowledge of loss that contorts and compromises honesty. as clearly as I see the empty chair across the table from me and as clearly as I see my hands not held by the one I loved and lost. Heal? Maybe. Avoiding tears is more a matter of avoiding the painful feelings that follow the loss of love. 46 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . It is also a matter of avoiding many truly loving events that memory brings to mind clearly. because these feelings bring me close to truth that I have avoided for a long time. It just is. A voyeur--the one who wants to live vicariously through the joys and pains of others--who watches me may judge that I cannot get honest with my feelings. but this judgment misses the obvious. than it is a matter of being honest. this is not one I want to make known to anyone else. I don‟t want to get close to the feelings that show themselves in tears. when you can tell me what heal means when someone dies.Tears Tears. I avoid them. with more anguished eyes and more of a choking. As a confession. Forget? Impossible. I avoid them because I fear them. I know what I have lost and what I have avoided . when life turns into shadow and falls into silence and invisibility. I have cried a lot lately. Still. tormented throat than during the decade before her death.
when I believe that no one else could understand or accept the pain. But more than survival. it is negotiating relationships in a way that invites instead of threatens. Fragile. Is this an ego boost. but as a life unto itself. but comforting. unforgettable. As aphoristic an ideal as this may seem. How could they love me. to be loved. and preserved not only as a reminder of life. therefore. I am alone. gives me safety. I feel their pain. Indeed. slowly diminishing. while keeping myself hidden. my primitive self says that they can‟t love me. have met its match within me. I am alive. if I am in such pain. I must make myself known by showing interest in others‟ welfare. But more than bittersweet secrets. My fear can no longer contain my need to be known and. 47 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . includes instead of harms. At least. to conceal my pain.Life is bigger than I am. suppression provides its isolated and temporary comfort. Suppression may. believing that no one could possibly understand my pain? Still. I was loved. to suppress them with the vigor that leaves my personal Holocaust intact. yes. loves instead of hates. however. a secret life. even while they live. I have learned that carrying pain makes a secret life. With these thoughts comes the temptation to conceal these thoughts. my need for love dictates many things that are not so obvious. this is survival. I feel their pain as if it were my own and I pray for those who have lost their lives. when they see in me what I find to be so lodged and painful in myself? Even if logic tells me otherwise. Alone. my need to suppress.
It is the talk show counselor who guides others through their lives and who sits alone most nights wondering whether to kill herself. Love is letting go of fear and holding on to life in one‟s heart. This life is the Mercedes with the red cellophane taped over the tail light. have loved and lost. there is no room for anything else. It is the Taj Mahal with dirt floors. the chalky vision. They. It is the hospital CEO who in his secret life is strung out on cocaine. avoiding triggers that cause the trauma to fire again and trying to escape intrusive promptings to kill one‟s self.Alive. They live as victims of great pain that consumes their minds and hearts like as a ravenous lioness consumes her prey. the cold breath of loneliness. the shadow of a life. they have ceased to live. This soul is the walking dead. too. and the empty heart. 48 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . But the worst of all living deaths is the soul who commits to the fear of living and loving. Their memories invade and occupy their minds and hearts but remain invisible to others. hidden by a cold and sightless need to see another day to its end. the gourdhollow smile. When loss and the fear of loss fill one‟s heart.
“Wake up.Life justifies itself in loving. “Wake up. Tears flow when you find a passion for life. especially when a life ends. It is to be lived. It is the “Damn right!” confirmation of existence. It is here. The passion brings passion from others. The question is not whether life is here. my soul. but whether we participate affirmatively in it. joining with others in pain or not. And there is hope in this simple acknowledgment. It is life saying yes to itself. It is taking one‟s pain. To others I say.” just as I say to myself. when shared. The passion for life means that you don‟t have to hide your tears. Thus. of course. soul. and rediscovering life. This includes loving one‟s self. This brings me back to tears. 49 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . They are tears of pain. Just because life is. Life is for living. It is to be received. tears become sweet gifts. but they are also tears of joy. And what is this love? It is The Gift received. as good and as hope. It is singing to the beat of one‟s heart.” This is a call to reckon with the fact that life is happening.
With your twisted and crooked thumb. you seemed to be unsure about whether you were unique and special or maybe unique and weird. I never saw the extra thumb. but I saw the scar many times. with one extra thumb on your right hand. I have realized only in recent years that you must have been relieved that your children were not born with a defect as you were. extra thumb. Frances May Davis Martin Your twisted. I have always known about your thumb.UNDER YOUR THUMB A Tribute to Mother. Maybe. 50 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . unseen deformities. as they permitted the doctor to snip off your tiny. your birth defect caused you to comment many times about how perfect I was when I was born. wondering whether you may have had other. leaving you with your twisted. Your comments seemed ordinary to me back then. They must have checked their daughter‟s little hands many times. crooked thumb. wondering whether her strange hand was really a part of their new child. as nice things that mothers say about their children. Your parents must have felt huge confusion. Birth delivered you as different. crooked thumb. wondering whether your thumb might have been an omen of things to come for you. wondering whether your crooked thumb was their responsibility.
though. You carried your twisted. Despite setbacks. your dignity and clear conscience remain as achievements to which the rest of shall continue to aspire. but you never let it diminish your dignity. Instead. I don‟t know whether you were special or weird when you were a child. No. showing instead humor about your defect. you were never weird or deformed to me. but I do know that. Never. you used your twisted. as a result of my misbehavior at times. Yes. you kept your dignity through the high quality of the way you lived and through the way you attempted defiantly to maintain your dignity through hard work and careful self-discipline. never! Instead. including something for others who may have needed you. You always seemed ready to do something. crooked thumb as a convincing teacher. your sweet spirit and generous heart defined you more than anything else. pointed and painful pinch prompted proper behavior from me many more times than I wish I needed. you could pinch uniquely well with your twisted. except maybe with the possible addition of your persistent energy. But when I needed it. You kept your dignity and your clear conscience.Despite your deformity. despite temptations to do otherwise. when the rest of us had long since grown tired. and should never be used to value other 51 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You taught me that my defects or those I might see in others may not be taken too seriously. You neglected showing your fragile self that your thumb no doubt reminded you of. crooked thumb as a bruise on your dignity. crooked thumb. your unique.
anguished but life affirming. As you used your heart and soul. You never used your hand as an excuse for easy passage. keeping your fragile self hidden. Your carried you beliefs faithfully. You said little about these things. knowing that we probably knew that it was there and refusing to use it as an excuse for any good or bad thing that might come your way. You came to each day timidly. You held your beliefs tightly as lessons for us. dimmed but always shining. along with your hand with the twisted and crooked thumb. You seriously and tightly held your beliefs as lessons for your children even long after we passed into adulthood. You never really suppressed me under your thumb. knowing that saying too much about them might contaminate your children and cause them to carry the burdens that you carried. Your thumb. brings you to mind because it is one of those important but almost hidden symbols that reminds me of you. refusing to 52 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . most of your beliefs seemed to be heavily anchored in your need to protect your children and to guide them safely. and betrayed but loyal. you made your way through life with no excuses for your failures.people less because of their deficiencies. Despite this. Indeed. you committed to show your children your strong self. though. whatever they might be. bruised but not broken. Likewise. You protected us. even if some of them seemed a little crooked and twisted like your thumb. But you didn‟t. we knew you were both fragile but strong. because you also held us tightly with love and steady devotion.
They revealed your committed and enduring love for your children. they also revealed so much more. If your sad eyes revealed pain. quiet responsibility above flashy attention-getting. Despite the insults you suffered. But you learned from your pain. because you learned from your pain. chronic and killing illness that brought an end to your life. and a clean mind above pleasure. you showed a simple courage that the larger world shall never know. In maintaining your dignity. hope above despair. but you and your pain became my greatest teachers. You claimed life for yourself. you little boy‟s violent death. Because of your capacity to manage it gracefully and to maintain your dignity in spite of it. almost without failure. and other brutal blows. you felt the pain. 53 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . but you maintained your dignity. I know this from looking at your sad eyes that were sad even when you smiled. spousal abandonment. severe sibling betrayal. When the insults to your dignity bruised your spirit.flash your defect as one of the important facts about yourself. in terms that showed respect for the things and the people you found around you. you taught me. You not only learned from your pain. And you helped me to learn from your pain. you gave gentleness and understanding of a wise and dependable and compassionate sort. too. others above self. whether you wanted to reveal your sadness or not. You were damaged by poverty. decency above revenge. a courage that places love above hate.
I learned that joy may come. but that so long as we are alive we may affirm life as good. acting on good intentions. keeping things simple. I learned that a clean house is important. I learned that ambition is good. but I also learned that generosity with things is better. but that it should never be a substitute for simple and direct conversation. with no apology and with no need for a second thought. but that it should never be fulfilled at the expense of someone else. I learned that intellectual achievement stands as an important goal. makes work and home far more satisfying than they could otherwise be. even when one is aggressive and ambitious. respecting others. and sharing what I have are best. I learned that simple and sincere greetings usually and eventually overpower meanness and bad intentions. managing money in a thrifty manner. But what I also learned is that loving people.I learned that hope comes and stays when loving relationships come and stay. I learned that having things and that desiring more things are good. even when circumstances are not enjoyable. keeping 54 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I learned that adversity comes as an inevitable part of life and that adversity may diminish our spirits or even hurt our bodies. but that a clean heart is more important. telling the truth. I learned that gentleness. I learned that my life ought to be best lived in ways that involve hard work. desiring good for them.
and care in moderating my need for pleasure. betrayal and loss. It is falling into the gaps of our inadequate attempts to know God and mysteriously being lifted up by God‟s hand. giving generously and privately so that the one who receives from us knows only that a need was met. 55 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Instead. with grace and lifeaffirming responses to it is as difficult as it is necessary. knowing that as we help them to establish their significance they will have helped us to establish ours. the worship of God is a wild adventure of the spirit that is confined by our limitations and released by the possibility that our need to be touched by God‟s presence will be realized. It is the pursuit of truth even when the truth makes us uncertain and even unpopular. I learned that genuine enjoyment of one‟s self comes when we can encourage others to be better than they are. It is a heartfelt and sometimes anguished quest after the unattainable. I learned that the worship of God is not a ritual of safety.myself clean. And it is the glorious madness of knowing more than we can understand. It is a reach of hope that defies evidence. I learned that optimism comes from showing kindness. I learned that managing pain. but also to be better than we are. and the burden of joy that we cannot readily explain. I learned that family members may embarrass us. but only when we are more concerned about what others may think about us than we are about loving our family. the sad sweetness of discovering that we were right. including disappointment.
wiped your eyes. I remember a time from an age when I could not put words to the pictures I saw. and smiled. you stiffened. However. You may have been tempted to suppress all three of your children. We. but you didn‟t. of your character--your scarred. long use. You watched us eat. as if the black tar of poverty that held your hopes in check would not suppress your will to raise the level of her children‟s aspirations. It is the lesson that when you have a child. especially me. I knew then as I know now that your sadness came from your belief that you could not provide for your children as you wanted. your son. I saw you cry. No. I knew then as I know now that I could not keep you from crying. shared the can of beans as our meal. because your twisted and crooked thumb is a symbol. while there are many. your children. When you saw me. The sparkle of your tears on the linoleum caught my eyes. while your tears and your ill-defined sadness grabbed my heart and soul. many other lessons that I learned from you and that could be listed here. nothing in life is more important that being faithful to your child. looking kindly at us as if you knew you had done the right thing. 56 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Your tears splattered on the linoleum floor that had been worn black from long.And. I may have learned the most important lesson from your faithfulness to me. but I also knew then and I know now that I would feed my child first and that to do otherwise would disgrace all three of us. I saw a picture of you that has shaped my life. you never suppressed me under your thumb. just a symbol. and to my sister and brother.
as an attempt to pay tribute to you. faithful. Even now. of dignity that refuses to submit to insult. you not only gave life to me and my brother and sister. It is under your thumb that I shall forever be reminded of decency in its finest form.gentle. Instead. with your twisted and crooked thumb. No. and energetic character--there is no place I would rather be than under your thumb. but gave your life doing all you could to make clear that life is good. as small and incomplete and inadequate as these words are. and of loyalty that stands as a monument to your life-long integrity. of courage to act against the odds for love and for what is right. you never really suppressed me. I know that you think more of others 57 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
as God‟s eternity allows you to be. I can hear you saying. You can be a child now. You can be a child now. You can be a child now. You don‟t have to take care of God. your grandchildren. “That‟s nice. You can b e a child now. You can be a child now. though. we need to tell you that you may think of yourself now. never having to wait impatiently again. You can be a child now. You are free. as playful as the most colorful kite dancing inn a blue sky on the freshest Spring afternoon. I can hear your reassuring response to them.” For now and always. as free from all pain. whether you have a twisted. more than you think of yourself. You think of me and Rhea Jane. you know. as loved more than you could ever need. Jeffy. You can be a child now. You can be a child now. And despite how inadequate these words are. as bright and shining as the sun. Don‟t worry. Enjoy. whether your thumb is twisted and crooked or not. I‟ll be okay. and friends and how we may be doing. You can be a child now. crooked thumb or not.than you do of yourself. Enjoy! 58 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You may think of yourself now.
including ones that are factual accounts of what happened.Inside the World of Need The several selections here take you inside the experience of losing someone through illness and death. 59 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Each selection is a picture of real experience. living with aloneness. The selections include several forms of expression. facing death. I hope that you will find significant meaning in some of the selections. emotional revelations. poetic compositions. and others. and more.
Can I be in love alone? She‟s there. now? In your absence. without words. Power doesn‟t win much for those who have it. somewhere beyond life. I say that I need the power to communicate to her that I love her. I am in love with someone who is gone. It is courage. the power to bring her here with me. So. what do I have to say now? I say what I know. I am alone.What do I have to say? Reflection on loss And what do I have to say. it isn‟t the power I need. I may have a future. I ask questions for which I have no answers. I am in love with someone who is gone. Words avoid me just now. now that she is gone. I can say that love finds me peeking into the long and brilliantly lighted roadways of an inviting future. No one is here to help me to see what kind of future I may have. Why has love taken so long to find me or for me to discover? How does love work anyway? Is it me who looks for love until I find what I need or is it love that looks for me until I am found? I am alone. not here. No. the power to impress her with my power. No. but there are no words to tell me what kind of future it is. what do I have to say. it isn‟t power I lack. but this is not true. now. 60 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . if they lack the courage to deal with life. even when I am not there with her? So. Can I be in love when she is somewhere else? How close do we have to be. before love can be found or lost? Is she aware of loving me.
It is doing. as I try to deal with life. So. doing life. No. Life is not a mental exercise. as surely as she has left my life. Like faith. even if I love someone who is not with me. I just want to live my life. Thinking about life is easy. Thinking is easy. what do I have to say. allowing comfort to expose my lack of faith in life.So. Courage--the big “C. I want to live my life.” Courage has escaped my heart. I am doing life. 61 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . what do I have to say? I love you. even if I am alone. as I try to find a day in which to feel at home in my life. Courage has left me small and cowardly too many times. is a challenge. I can‟t relax. It happens. I am alive. It places me where I must do something or not. as I live life. now that she is gone? I never intend to be courageous. courage is kind of thoughtless. How do I do life. I want to live my life. I never intend to be courageous. Thinking is not a challenge. now? I have to talk about courage. Living life.
She said.” a most human affirmation. How could I hear what she said? 62 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .” Why couldn‟t I hear her? She was saying good-bye long before I could hear her. “Your are beautiful. our beautiful kids. “I will miss you.Good-bye She was saying good-bye long before I could hear her. than you. She said.” with a strength of sobriety that she had not shown before. as a husband and as a man. I needed to hear something else. Why couldn‟t I hear her? She was saying good-bye long before I could hear her. I needed her alive and well. Why couldn‟t I hear her?” She was saying good-by long before I could hear her. “No one is better at taking care of the kids. She said.
saying. In her absence.Why couldn‟t I hear her? She was saying good-bye long before I could hear her. I can hear her. clearly. “I love life and I will miss it” and “I love you and I will miss you. In all the ways she said good-bye. Now. she needed me to hear her. but now her voice comes to me. I can hear the passion in her voice.” 63 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
] 64 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and holds steady our affection for you. now. Is there more? Yes. comes rest. And more? Yes. just as your mother knows love in her death. there is more. [This note went to a friend. knows you now. there is more. following the death of her mother.What Can We Say? What can we say? We can say that you loss claims our attention. and will know you always. keeps us thinking about you with kindly thoughts. Is there more? Yes. Take care. love knew you before you were born. Your mother and you may rest. Now. Remember. God knew you before you were born.
Love and Fences While they may protect us from harm. As our need to feel hope within our fences Brings hope to the child we used to be And relaxes the rage that kept us in. And as life without fences needs no defenses. In our minds where the big fences live. As faith dares to take life without fences. Fear blooms in the scene within us. Fences hold blessings or curses In our minds where the big fences are. Or maybe keep freedom at a distance. Caged in empty yards with no fences. The child we used to be finds comfort And learns to have a good life because Love comes when we move without fences. As hope teaches us to live without fences. Love comes when we move without fences. 65 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Fences and their posts fall in our old age. As priests explain to anxious hearts And to souls who feel deep disquiet.
The bounty of days-so many fresh tomatoes to enjoy, so much ice cream, so many silly antics from the kids. The sun comes and goes. My days are endless. Little could little be better than it is. But as I see my patients, my tears sometimes roll, like the rain on the window. Their time lacks the endless quality that I assume is there for me. Their pain sounds the alarm on their life‟s clock, as surely as the alarm on my clock wakes me each morning. A life is about to end. Their last moment softly ticks. Their time expires. The time of their special ones stops, too, as they feel anguish more than comfort, loss more than hope, death more than life.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
And I hold them, wishing for the energy of the sun, wanting and willing for all my love and hope to penetrate their souls. I think of home and you. And I think of precious life, so teeming with possibility and so temporary, and how I might define myself without you, without home and your presence. And I am pleased when you hold me, refusing to wonder why this embrace is so long and why my tears come so readily. You know that this embrace could be our last, but you don‟t know. Is this the one, the last tender moment? And this kiss? And this “I love you?” And this intimate look? This is the moment.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
A tribute to Penny Hall, RN, hospice nurse.
Take heart in knowing that you are the source of desperately needed help. Without you, patients and their families would suffer very much more than they do. Without you, their fear would escalate beyond their capacity to manage it. Without you, their times alone would be much lonelier than they are. Without you, your patients‟ deaths would come sooner and with greater physical and emotional anguish.
Ah. But with you, they feel less pain and maybe none. With you, they find peace in the security you bring. With you, they move with courage toward their deaths. With you, they find safety in your competence. With you, they know faith in people and maybe in God because of your loyalty to them. With you, they acquaint themselves with caring in its finest form. With you, they carry grief with rightful pain, but not quite so heavily.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
And you risk losing , too, knowing that, as you put your heart and soul into your work, you will lose people who become important to you. But you take the risk, because of their need and your strength, relying on your good sense, a driving compassion, and your finely honed skills. Still, you risk. Thank you for taking the risks you do. Because I see you risk and lose and feel your grief, I see also that you sometimes miss how significant you are in the living, dying, and grieving of your patients and their families. I see how you persist in fulfilling the demands of your calling. If “grit” ever applied to a person, it applies to you. Give yourself credit for fulfilling your commitment to help your patients to live well until they die, even if your dedication to them brings you heartache sometimes. Give yourself credit for doing right, easing pain, healing souls, delivering hope, and affirming life, including your own life. Take heart. You are never alone. You belong to a large company of caring persons. You and they create a powerful life force.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
May I tell you a story? It‟s a story about Brad and Betty. “I just want to keep growing,” shouted Brad the Tadpole up through the dark thin water. And fixed to a shaky reed near the pond, Betty the Larva shouted back to Brad, “Hey, you are growing, but I‟m doomed. I have to stuff myself into this silky grave. So, go on, grow and enjoy life, while I die.” But Brad felt that growing just wasn‟t enough by itself and tried to explain to Betty. “You see, Betty, I‟ve dreamed of becoming a real Tadpole, big and fast and strong, with a nice Tadpole family. You know, Mom and Dad and all the little Tadpoles. But there aren‟t any. I‟ve looked and I can‟t find a Tadpole family anywhere, I have no future.” Not to be outdone, Betty bemoaned her own miserable fate. “There aren‟t any Larvae families around here, either, you know. I‟d like to have a family, too. But I believe there‟s no room for second chances for me and you. Just look at you! You‟re growing into something else. You‟re sprouting legs and arms. And your head is twisting out of shape. I don‟t know what you are, but it‟s not a tadpole. But, at least, you‟re growing and becoming something. I‟m not. I don‟t know what you‟re becoming; I just know that I‟m not becoming anything.” Brad slumped and said, “I guess it‟s over for us, then, huh?” “I guess so,” Betty agreed.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
“But who . . . What am I? I don‟t know,” sputtered Brad, as if all were lost. Brad and Betty fell silent, knowing that their changes seemed hazardous unto death. Brad grew parts he couldn‟t name and in places he didn‟t know he had, while Betty spun for herself a silky grave, knowing only that there was no way out. Time passed. Change happened. All seemed lost. “Wow,” thought Brad the Bullfrog, “she is gorgeous! I think I‟m in love.” And Betty the Butterfly saw Brad and thought, “I need that Bullfrog!” To make a long story short, Betty the Butterfly and Brad the Bullfrog learned to love each other. They suffered through transforming changes and risked everything to show their love for each other. Even after they established love for each other, though, not everything went perfectly smoothly. For example, Brad and Betty weren‟t sure about what to call their little ones. Should they be Butterfrogs or Bullflies or what? No matter what they were called each one knew that it was loved. But, above all else, Betty and Brad learned that Butterflies and Bullfrogs live and love only with second chances. Second chances. Everybody ought to have second chances. And love makes second chances possible.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
No one in the universe holds as many secrets about me as you do. You never promised to keep my secrets, as if you could hold power over me by threatening to reveal me. You just do. I feel safe with you most of the time, unless my fear of being known suffocates my courage. You take my good secrets along with the bad ones and receive them as gifts, as acts of friendship, as if loving me is more important than judging me. By hearing my secrets, you invite me to risk change. When I am most honest with you, revealing my secrets, fearfully removing my mask, showing you my real self, I feel close to you. I can be brave, good and open,
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
as if I have seen and felt the secret of eternal life, a loving presence who will never abandon me. Even if it scares me to death, I feel like I am given life, something like the breath of God, when I am truly honest with you, knowing that you hold my secrets as closely as you hold your own life. And because of you, I am born again.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Since we know we‟re perfect By how perfect we‟ve been.Come. Hoping to find something To make us something else. The search for perfection Is a frustrating dream.” We all search for something That‟s seldom ever found.” And boys say. Be Yourself Girls say. You‟re who you‟re meant to be. Muscle-bound. 74 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . be yourself. “I must look good. We search for perfect selves. And when you feel the joy. Come. To have a change of heart. Knowing you can‟t make it Is the right place to start To find the self you are. Through the worry and fear. The joy of being yourself Means you are really free.
be yourself. 75 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Come. None will ever save you As much as being you. be yourself. Of all the things to do. Come.Of all the things you can be. be yourself. God made you natural As baby girl or boy And needs you an adult Who lives a life of joy. Come.
I have discovered that there is no fear in dreaming. The fear comes only in knowing that I may live without dreams and someone with whom to share them. barbecuing chicken. as I also learn to receive the dreams of others. Believe in their magic and their defiance of ordinary thinking. And of course. I dream. wondering sometimes whether I may exhaust my supply of energy that comes from dreaming. Otherwise. watching television. and other forms of conventionality. The fear never takes over my life. by the time I get through these dreams. Dreams do not come in driving cars. I have enough dreams to take me through several lifetimes.Our Dreams My Dreams: As I contemplate the fact that I will cease to be. So. Learning to share my dreams gives me delight beyond words. they come to you when you give yourself time to contemplate--to 76 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I will have created a million more. I am afraid that my capacity to dream may die first. but it does give life a startle now and then. Instead. Your Dreams: Take delight in your dreams. I am afraid. including loneliness and failure. But my fear isn‟t so much of dying. Imitating the ordinary actions of others cannot make your dreams for you. This supply of dreams and their accompanying optimism carries me through many difficult times.
Still. Dreams are your hearts plans for achieving impossible things that defy ordinary thinking. 77 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Your life is a creative force. maybe. your dreams make you significant to you. you will be fulfilled by them in your pursuit of their fulfillment. that you join as a participant and as a contributor. Take delight in it. take delight in your capacity to dream and in your dreams. for when they are fulfilled. by fierce opposition from others. a creative force. whether they are fulfilled or not. knowing that your delight will be accompanied by hard work and.think deeply--about your interest in your life and in life itself as a generating force. But more than this. Take delight in your dreams. your life is truly significant. But.
The game. It surrounds me with poetic pictures of bad things that persist in causing me to wish for a simple end to my long and dragging depression. bringing an end to the serious pain. It forges big ideas about how pleasantly I may be able to terminate my torment--my grief and loneliness. It invites me to join you in your passage from this life to something else. It touches me. It buckles my knees from the burden of hopelessness. 78 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . It leaves me imagining forever as a peaceful retreat from the pain of losing you. It purveys the promising pause of eternal poise.The Game Underneath the guessing game grow the thorns of doubts that hurt when I touch the memories of loving you.
The feeling of loss turns my head to memories of times when I knew your presence. when we talked until we fell asleep. And then I hear your voice echoing in my head: “Get on with your life.” 79 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . you damn fool! You ain‟t dead. when we kissed. remembering where the conversation was but not remembering who said something last. Privately. yet. of course. Loss has a way of working me into the past I shared with you.And I cry. when I held you and you held me. when you revealed your secrets to me and I revealed mine to you.
We can‟t talk with each other. My feet hurt. surveying me. When you feel safe. But you can‟t tell me what you need. If you need something. You reach for me. comforting yourself. If it‟s milk you want. sometimes squeezing my arm gently to remind yourself of my presence. If it‟s not milk you want. just squeeze my arm to let me know. assessing me and my readiness to be touched. Because you can‟t. now that we can‟t talk? I love you. you let your hand rest on my arm. too. If I guess right. I‟ll do my best to guess what you want. finding my hand reaching back to you. I am so frustrated that I can‟t speak sometimes. I speak to you: “I‟m here. I want to do all I can for you. but I refuse to move them as long as you are comforted by my presence and my touch. now that you can‟t speak to me? How do I know what you want or need from me. Just squeeze my arm. I‟m not going anywhere. I‟ll ask you about it.How Do I Care for You? Reflections on a man‟s love for his very ill wife How do I care for you. as if your need for touching me guides you to the safety of my touch. your hand relaxes. just wiggle you finger or your hand back and forth just as you would shake your head back and forth to say no. but I will try to keep this from you. You rest. too. you can squeeze my arm firmly and I will 80 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You rub your hand over my hand and arm softly. Your comfort is more important to me than my aching feet. but as you rest you comfort me. but we will find a way to communicate. I‟m here.
I feel free to move now.” You fall asleep. I will make enjoyment of our time together more important. but I won‟t go far. And when I guess right. but more than worry. I will stay close to you. Because I love you. I worry about you. It would be my pleasure. Now that you are asleep. with your hand barely touching my arm. but more than your pain.know that I have guessed right. I will hear you. Please. I can cry. If you move. but more than my fear. 81 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I will do my best to get what you want. I will hold nothing back. I love you. I will do what I can. you are free to depend on me. I will do everything I can to relieve your pain. I fear losing you. I feel your pain. but more than loving you now I will always love you.
as the Moa let go of its long held perch. Bringing life. Nature draws the bridge into her mirrored face And sees her eons more cleanly than before. Nature sucks up the bridge into herself. She seeks her revenge and wins all that is to be won. When the promise of a better Nature insults her. a squid. insulting Nature‟s loyal artery. knowing That her exuberant child needs a good mother. “The only specific evil that man has introduced Into nature is the lie. as surely as the seed is planted. all that is to be won. With the wisdom that only eternal Nature claims. To become an oak. And winning. Coming on with civilization boldly. Nature always finds a way with you and me. Softly reshaping the form with the persistence That glorifies the hurried pace of the iciest glacier And winning. and rapidly Plagiarizing strength and wholesomeness. With the promise of safety that improves God. in the end. And holds the bridge gently and firmly. The soul-packed surge of nature trains the bridge. a toad.Nature Finds a Way The bridge rises. in the end. or you and me.” says Martin Buber. But Nature loves the bridge as she loves herself. all that is to be won. 82 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . letting It go.
I lose you. I touch you. reeling from the feeling of passion that young love brings. love. maybe placid. The Blossom. without consideration. today. Try to be curious about me. The universe seems so small. a quiet but constant knowing that you have committed to me for a lifetime and that only death can separate us from life together. Tell me you love me. you know. The Seed.The Rose The Bud. now that you and I share our lives. Now. reeling from the feeling of how I hurt as I slowly walk away from the cemetery 83 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Confidence in life eternal is broken. noise that comes from laughter and serene. of course. we look out the window as a family of overflowing love and. as I say good bye to you. I am yours. Say it again. Your love pulls me into security. or have you lived with me so long that you forget love holds us together? The Thorn. settled-ness from living as family The Beauty.
The fragrance of your love hovers in my memory and fills me with joy and pain that stings my will to live.The Rose. I‟d rather feel the thorn than never see the rose. Still. 84 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
85 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Your grief will take more energy than you would have ever imagined.What To Say To Them When They Grieve* We who care for patients and their families in home care. Sometimes. First. including emotional. Here is help. we need help with knowing what to say to them. Your grief will show itself in all spheres of your life. you say to them such things as these when they are appropriate: Your grief will take longer than most people think. must help them with their grief. Your grief will involve many changes and be continually developing. you say to them that you care. If you don‟t care. hospice programs. almost anything else you say doesn‟t matter much. Be patient with yourself. churches. Your grief will depend on how you perceive your loss. spiritual. social. Then. and other places. and physical aspects of your life.
Your grief will entail mourning not only for the actual person you lost but also for all of the hopes. not solely those that are generally thought of as grief.You will grieve for many things that are both symbolic and tangible. You may have a combination of anger and depression. You will feel some anger and guilt or. due partially to the fact that you are experiencing reactions that may be quite different from reactions that you have had to other events. annoyance. and unresolved conflicts from the past. dreams. 86 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and for the needs that will go unmet because of the death. frustration. and unfulfilled expectations you held for and with that person. You will grieve for what you have lost already and for what you have lost for the future. at least. feelings. or intolerance. some manifestation of these emotions. such as irritability. and not just the death of your special one. such as depression and sadness. You will have some identity confusion as a result of this major loss. Your grief will involve a wide variety of feelings and reactions. The loss will resurrect old issues.
87 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . In doing this. and stimuli that bring upsurges in grief. You may begin a search for meaning and may question your religion and/or philosophy of life. acute upsurges of grief that occur suddenly with no warning. You may be obsessed with the death and preoccupied with the deceased. You may find yourself acting socially in ways that are different from before your loss. You may find that there are certain dates. You may find yourself having a number of physical reactions that are unfamiliar to you. Your acquaintances will have unrealistic expectations about your mourning and may respond in ways that seem to you to be inappropriate. You may feel like you are going crazy. You will have trouble thinking (memory. you are attempting to piece together a new social life.You may have a lack of self concern. events. organization and intellectual processing) and making decisions. You may experience grief spasms.
above all else. an intense amount of emotion that will surprise you and those around you. It may or may not follow the pattern about which others tell you. contact with mutual friends. You will feel that you are unprepared for the global response you have to your major loss. Your grief will bring with it. Your grief will surprise you as you see the range of expression of your grief. certain holidays.Certain experiences later in life may resurrect intense grief for you temporarily. along with many inadequate responses from others that make judging your expectations somewhat more difficult. your need for people goes on. depending upon the combination of factors. Maintain your contact with people. Your grief is uniquely yours. such as anniversaries. Of all the things you do or don‟t do with your grief. You will feel grief somewhat more intensely because of certain reminders of your loss. especially people who care for you. Refuse to isolate 88 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . please remember that. finding special objects that the two of you valued. Your expectations of yourself as grieving may be unrealistic.
*Adapted from Therese Rando. too. Act on your need for them. 89 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .yourself from others. please remember your needs. you make yourself a better helper than you would otherwise be. too. Remember this. As you take care of yourself. You are worth taking care of. Take care of yourself. As a helping person. You need them and they need you. You suffer losses. How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies. Keep this in mind as you care for others. as you help persons who grieve.
Needs. you feel some fear. tasting it as we might a wine. ~Eugene Kennedy As a counselor. feeling its keen edge even in trifling losses and disappointments. I have engaged with many individuals. or elsewhere. families. in every separation. holding it by the hand. as a dancer might a partner. Needs. we feel fear along with the need. and death. If you need acceptance. whether they are treated in clinics. schools. You see. [“Stuff” is not a technical term. you feel some fear. albeit a desirable and maybe necessary option. hospitals. though. and groups in dying and bereavement situations. . because the need for acceptance is naturally accompanied by the fear of 90 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and Death: Care for the Caregiver Death is by no means separate from life. because the need for success is naturally accompanied by a fear of failure. is seldom merely a nice idea that finds its way into our concomitantly nice behavior. Helping others. This is serious stuff. fear. Another fact is that what we need we also fear.] It has really huge implications for our work with clients. This short article attempts to offer some insights that come from these engagements. Fear. We all interact with death every day. . is an option. if you need success [and who doesn‟t]. private offices. To be more precise. It is not an option. when we need something. Death is fact. though. Our need to help.
The fear. we must learn to give appropriate attention to our fear so that we manage it well. is natural. But this is jumping ahead. the fear is healthy. But. but also to give appropriate attention to the fear of patients and their families so that we manage it well. 91 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .rejection. As caregivers. more than this. then.
you see. The fear. (And just imagine the silliness of the advertising campaign that promotes the slogan. It helps us to survive a lot longer than we would without it. Any need we feel is natural. Likewise. just as it helps us to keep ourselves safe in relationships. if you felt no fear. they come when we do something to make our needs and fears unnatural. helps us to maintain some balance.” But there are other. such as “avoiding the truth” or “denying the obvious” or “she is so nice that she can‟t hear a word that is said to her” or “he keeps people away from him with his anger and doesn‟t know it. Of course. we do not give in to our fear on most days or in relation to most aspects of our lives.No Fear? Just imagine what you might do. such as “obsessive-compulsive disorder” or “depression. Your imagination is probably sufficient to convince you that without a fear of rejection. any fear we feel is natural. “No Fear. some sanity. it is that we „give in‟ to the fear.”) For example. if fear presents problems. But we are acquainted with others who frequently give in to their fears. You would be dangerous! And imagine what you would do with your need for acceptance with if you felt no fear of rejection. In general. in much of what we do. Some of them have formal diagnoses. It helps us to keep ourselves safe in traffic. If problems come because of our needs and fears.” Many of these 92 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . less formal diagnoses. imagine driving with no fear. though. you would rush into many stupid and hurtful relationships.
even when we desperately need acceptance. even without diagnoses being assigned to us.diagnoses. You or I may not receive any of these diagnoses. cueing them that they should leave us alone because we are impossible to get close to. we may even overwhelm them with our needs. 93 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Or. we often succumb to fear. know that our fear may prevent us from meeting our needs. We may maintain our solitude by working hard. slyly convincing ourselves that we can‟t be friends with everyone. formal or informal. come from fear-based actions that we observe. but need acceptance. Unfortunately. we may push others away by being stiff or indifferent with them. but when it is mismanaged problems come with it. Many of us. We have seen ourselves do most of these things. we may act out of our fear. when we fear rejection. making clear to ourselves that we are dedicated to superior work. for example. Still. Or. The fear is normal.
even severe pain. that we sometimes wonder whether they are conscious. as if dying could be one of the most pleasant experiences they could imagine. they find an emotionally safe way to draw others close to them. avoiding conversation that may give us minimal information about their condition. others often miss seeing their denial and their pain. You may know them when you see them. You may have seen them. distracting us from their emotional suffering. In this. Their need for life is naturally accompanied by their fear of death. particularly the terminally ill ones. but also their large.What Fear Does Just imagine what some of our patients feel. They turn toward sweetness. so reassuring about their personal security. while making certain that we stay involved with them. They detach so completely. They get angry. sometimes spewing venomous rage on everyone else. But what happens when they give in to their fear. effectively keeping their emotional distance from others. but their fear overwhelms their need and leaves them isolated. They may need others. They conjure up discomfort. Because they are so sweet. hidden needs. even healthy. prompting the rest of us to conclude that they have no needs. 94 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . This is normal. They succumb to fear by seeking to make themselves numb. a comforting maneuver that paradoxically maintains their suffering and may even make their suffering worse.
By maintaining appropriate detachment. While we deliver may different kinds of services to patients and their families. If we go too far in objectively maintaining a professional view of them. we get ourselves in trouble. This is the product of fear. we keep a balance between subjectively identifying with the patient and objectively maintaining a professional view of them. because if we go too far in either direction. denying their needs and maybe their diagnoses. therefore. looking us in the eye. Their fear prompts them to see us as threats and to attempt to neutralize as threats.They confront our fear. we treat them as mere objects and lose some our capacity to help them. We have seen patients and their families distort their world to a degree that we sometimes cannot recognize it. lest we collude with them in their distortion of their world and ours. because we bring the facts and the care that they need. and telling us something different from what we know about their condition or challenging our competence and. 95 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Generally. but that they fear the facts more than they need to know the facts. we suffer unnecessarily and lose some of our capacity to help the patient. If we go too far in subjectively identifying with the patient‟s experience. we must be alert to how we manage or sometimes mismanage their fear. we neutralize their attempts to draw us into their distorted view of their world. when we maintain appropriate detachment from patients. This balance is necessary. sometimes by staring confidently.
So. especially as we treat our patients who are terminally ill and their families. while each of us invents his/her own strategies for managing all sorts of feelings. how do we manage our fear of rejection. how do we manage our fear of death. Given the normal fear that may be associated with treating dying patients. we will inevitably become complicit in our patients‟ mismanagement of their fear. 96 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . how do we manage it? Do we avoid the heart patient because her illness brings our family illnesses and our fear to mind? Do we show dread about the end-stage AIDS patient who gives us a very vivid picture of the worst of human suffering? Do we examine patients through tears because we feel their torment with them? The fact is that. the question is how we manage it. So. how do we manage our fear of failure. Do we have a need for success? Yes. including fear. The question is not whether our fear is there. So. some suggestions about managing our fear may be helpful.What Do We Do? On our side of care giving. quite apart from how we treat or engage with patients. especially when the condition of our patient cannot be improved? Do we have a need for acceptance? Yes. unless we can manage our fear well. The fact is that. you and I must be curious about what we do with our fear. especially when our patient rejects us or does not positively value our skills? Do we have a need for life? Yes.
Refrigerate food that should be refrigerated so that it may remain germ-free. unless you refuse to balance your fear with your need. such as beef. Be careful here. for example. but you may need also to give up time with your television or the volume of chocolate you eat or “medicating” yourself with alcoholic drinks or neglecting opportunities for nurturing yourself or making your life complex and stressful. This may not be as easy as it appears to be. if you need something to eat. though. Let your fear guide you in these ways. Recognize it. And cook certain foods. but the fear of it should not dominate your decision about whether to eat.One. because it helps to guide you to do the healthy thing. That is. Two. You may want to consider your fear as a good friend. 97 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . poisoning is something to fear. living well means that you give up anger that you have carried for a long time or letting go of long-held disappointments. you may need to give up smoking [an obvious health risk that everyone knows about]. If you live well. The fear cannot hurt you. Maybe. decide that your life is worth living well. Living well may mean that you relinquish certain things. when you give appropriate attention to it. you must not stop eating merely because of the possibility of food poisoning. Because living well means that you ought to manage your feelings along with your actions. recognize your fear. The need to eat is more important than the worry about food poisoning. but never give in to it. but worry about the possibility of food poisoning. Your fear is normal. Of course. so that dangerous bacteria are killed. Your fear is normal.
” Do this in a heartfelt way. one. the amount of intelligence you have. Consider your needs. if not a miserable. No matter how energetic. Try to keep this simple. You are limited in the amount of time you have. you get the idea. Four. This will 98 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Still. Three. Consider your need for rest and your need for laughter and your need for family and your need for attachment and your need for financial security and your need for intellectual stimulation and your need for physical exercise and your need to talk about your needs and. Act on your needs. “How do I try to meet these needs?” Keep it simple. Look at your basic needs and try to meet these. you are limited. Look. “Hate. and purposeful you are. limitations pose disappointment and frustration. as if there is no tomorrow. while you put the rest of them on a shelf for a while. Follow your needs. we are limited. Period. you won‟t go wrong. Take them seriously. at your basic needs. When you act on your needs. “I am one person in one place doing one thing at one time. as if there is no yesterday. well. give attention to your needs. such as physical health. Consider telling yourself. first. Ask yourself.you may want to follow the advice. you are okay. first. Love. You are limited. stay grounded in your priorities. because a life of unmet needs is usually an uncomfortable. because your life is worth living well. For many of us who want to do something about most everything. the amount of energy you have. and so on. “What do I need? Really need?” And ask yourself. the amount of affection you have. clever. loving relationships and some kind of productive work.
this is the one I choose to do. instead. Only this one matters right now.” Because you are likely a lot like the rest of us. the demands and expectation that others bring to us are almost always more that we fulfill. for example. through all sorts of communications that tell them that they must be gorgeous and seductive (girls) or muscular and seductive (boys) to make themselves valuable to the rest of us. Consider. you may want to separate yourself from this idea and to consider. which should they be? Likewise. [While you read this. you can‟t be buying groceries. now. you may need to repeat these things to yourself many times. some of the obstacles that children face in their innocent attempts to act on what they know to be true. And so on. consider also telling yourself. Still. So. if we stay grounded in priorities that our needs require of us. we more likely than not manage our natural fears in healthy ways. you and I face powerful forces that want to convince us that what we know to be true is not true. I will refuse to think about the rest of them. Thus. When you buy groceries. Five.] So. When you swim. this one may seem to be self-evident. Just for a moment. you can‟t be swimming.” The fact is that in this moment you will choose to do something. that we tend to demand that our children be very competitive. “Of all the things I might do at this moment. In addition. As with many bits of wisdom that come our way. but moan and fret when they act on this 99 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . you can sleep in your bed. affirm and act on what you know to be true.never change. we tend to sexualize children at an early age. but decry their inclination to be aggressive.
because of what we know to be true about life. though. our value of honesty. gives us options about how we react. But. how are they as children or we as adults able to stick with what we know to be true? You may be thinking that there is no simple answer to this question. You‟re right. it is good change. change is neither good nor bad. even if some changes are clearly bad. may require change from us. It is a fact that should be accepted as fact. with none being automatic or necessary. Generally. our competence in caring for one another. As such. which should they be? We tend to attempt to sell them everything and to do this with extreme sophistication. We know how to make life better for ourselves. for example. Change is not a question. So. The fact of a telephone scam. life is much better for us. or other beliefs that we know to be true. the only question about change is how we react to it.sexualization and become sexually active at an early age. neither to be liked nor disliked. So. The reactions are ours to choose. including our patients. with each one numbing the sensitivities of children to do what they know to do. you and I know that. it is bad change. but show disappointment when they want everything. affirm and act on what you know to be true. So. A telephone scam. again. 100 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . A wedding may require change from us. So. accept change. for example. if we affirm and act on our value for family. Finally. and so on. which should they be? The list of conflicting demands could go on and on. neither requiring anger nor hostile comments nor sullen withdrawal nor passive compliance nor whining.
your relationships are basic to living well. no matter what may come. because of this. give yourself permission to evaluate change and to opt out of change.The key to making change good for you is to commit to be kind to yourself and to your significant others. 101 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . create endless stability for yourself. assuming that. if possible. that you judge not to be good for you. give attention to ways to meet your needs as you adapt to change. Instead of living with the belief that you may be able to stop change and. Likewise.
Surely. After the patient died. But no task is more important. Of all the things to do. because of their fear of death and their almost exclusive attention to their fear-ridden avoidance of life. at times. though. As caregivers. Maybe. Of all the things to be. Giving yourself to serve others. 102 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . when they give in to their fear. the odds should be considerably better if we face the fears that we take to such a family as this. at first. with each family member isolated among the ruins of the family. Opening your mind and heart to others who can care about you. For example. yes. Focusing on the moment. one family began to turn on each other in arguments. the rest of the family grieved as individuals. things go wrong. Sometimes. None can ever save you As much as being you. because we have learned that. and then fights. could any of us have stopped this family from emotionally cannibalizing itself? Maybe. no. They could not help each other to grieve or even acknowledge their mutual loss.Dance Artfully with Yourself Among the many tasks we receive and try to accomplish successfully is that of helping our patients to manage their fear. Being at home with yourself. Keeping things simple. we fail. Living naturally. instead of their need to live well.
Inside you. of course. without motion. becoming all that you know is good. Discovering joy. life at its best means that you learn to dance artfully with yourself. Enjoy yourself. dance. So. even when it may involve pain. It is a dance. A movement of the heart. Learn to regard each movement as precious. Keep the motion going. Your precious life. When you dance. It is your life. Listening to yourself and to others. This is the public part. Movement that carries you from one heart beat to another. It is never static. Laugh at your mistakes. Fear fades into the background. Don‟t let the pain stop you. Enjoy yourself. Making good. from your heart. engaging your mind and heart in loving life. from one chance to love to another. Give yourself to it. Your life. Living moves from one moment to another. even if you don‟t like what you are doing. Enjoy the motion. If you ain‟t dancin‟. though.Sacrificing when this is necessary. just like the music at the dance. making life. when you learn to dance artfully with yourself. This is life. Keep the motion going. you‟re wasting your feet! 103 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Avoiding undue complexity. You dance with others.
we know that the pleasant cool of the moment leads to cold. But the cool of October also warns us about the stinging cold that sullenly waits in the long and dark shadows for her turn to come after us and stirs within us a piercing apprehension about its coming and forces us to feel the change that we try to welcome and to resist. knowing without wanting to know that we will never have cool and warmth. The fire waits impatiently for us to be quiet and shoots its cinders into the dark air as reminders of its warm and warning presence. though. we start a fire here in the woods where the hospitality of this open air home lets us know we belong. Our bodies plead for the energy that flowed naturally into us before the long days of summer came and burned the energy away. we know that we are here. though. let alone love and hate. With the inexorability of the setting sun that starves the leaves of light and causes them slowly to die. away from lights and tires. Its cursive smoke escalates the race to reach higher than all of us who pause to look at the night here in the woods. the cold leads to long cabinized time that leaves us to wonder why we were left here. For the moment. in perfect balance. The young colors of the early night tell us about how simple 104 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . the magic marketing box and church bells. Wonder or not.The Flame On the occasion of Susan‟s surgery In the woods. the cool of October comforts us and helps us to recall that we are not stuck with the hell-tempered heat of summer.
free for the taking. and that we may never return to the city. The fire warms us here. even in our temporariness. No one here dies from needles full of poison. This silent succulent moment brings a certain senescence of the soul. The picture shows us a familiar low risk. without neon. when the company is people who are home. never to be sparks again. This remote but shared solitude awakens us to our need for one another. The risk is that this sample of the simple life may teach us that home may be where we are. No one here feel the urge to kill because of deep.life may really be. but. a life at one with itself. that home cannot exist without this company. feeling no urge to decide whether to leave the small circle of lighted comfort here. We sustain ourselves long enough to find a way out of the woods. a quietude that comes from the seasoning of time spent in the woods. as the light softly creeps away to escape the night that quietly surrounds us and places the easy reach of our walled homes further away than our imaginations can see. like the sparks that pass into darkened dust that filters through a darkening night and succumbs to eternal cool. as if the warm breath of God had filled this hallowed space of mutuality with unspeakable but significant meaning. It is a moment of dread about how. fuller than most moments can be. This is a picture of life. sacrificing wood and welcoming warmth. blessed. This is a picture of life. 105 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . full of crackling. we are knowingly temporary. here in this darkening cocoon from which we know that we may emerge with newness.
No one here feel more lonely than loved or more ignorant than divinely well informed. Love is that speechless deed of caring. Higher than reasoned significance. here in the cool October woods. it makes us one with another and with our place in the woods. The call itself is simple. watching our baby sleep. An October night in the woods calls us to live more simply than we have usually freed ourselves to live. The fire warms us here. Love and nature go well together. It is peace. when it is guided by love. the breath of God and the relaxed breath of self-love allow us to love each other and to love every stranger the same. in this moment. In this place. Life calls us to claim life. is a spiritual moment. to make a much simpler place for ourselves.enduring frustration from too much time in traffic that goes nowhere. The eternally persistent voice of life calls us to acknowledge that life is the only measure of life. as if he and she are a brother and sister to us. No one here tries to escape the buyminded net in which we have been caught out here because the net cannot hold us here in the woods. causing us to hear here. with only family to share it. The fire warms us here. The lights grow dim in the city. together alone with the God who made night and day and invented love for us as a gift of the soul. directing us to claim life. knowing the scene is as momentary as it 106 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . An October night in the woods holds us here. It is the voice of life. No one here jumps from the 22nd floor and crashes with the prices of stocks. Life here wants little more for itself than it has.
Watching the baby sleep and kissing the child‟s boo boo. and crying because life is. but it holds our attention on life and on the love that sustains life. The cool October evening here in the woods allows us to honor life because now and forever life is a spiritual moment. making life. cleaning after cleaning and helping after helping after helping. 107 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The cool October evening tells us much that we already know. as he for her and she for him. feeling joy. The fire warms us here. Love says what it does.is forever. The speechless deed makes us weary because it is supposed to make us weary. It is service. It is kindness. Live is a spiritual moment. giving energy that makes the weariness fade. inspiring us beyond inspiration in quantities beyond which we could ever have hoped. but also because life is so good and so passing. grateful that it can be what it is. It is passion. cleaning and helping. The speechless deed that refuses to call attention to itself is a spiritual moment. The flame is eternal. The fire warms us here. and crying tears of joy speak for themselves. kissing our child‟s “boo boo” even when it has dirt on it. usually without the words that get in the way of understanding what we know. just is.
We will join you in this. You may renew your commitment to life. 108 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . causes us to hurt for you.Facing Grief with Faith What Can We Say? If you have lost someone close to you. Is there more? Yes there is more. just as your lost one knows love in death. Is there more? Yes. You and your loved ones may rest. keeps us thinking about you with kindly thoughts. and will sustain you. and holds steady our affection for you. comes rest. what can we say? Well. Now. love knew you before you were born. and will know and love you always. now. knows and loves you now. And more? Yes. And more? Yes. there is more. knows you now. Love knew you before you were born. Remember. now. God knew and loved you before you were born. we can say that your loss claims our attention.
Take care. We will take care with you. 109 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .Hope We hope that you gain from this booklet. through the loving Spirit that God brings to all of us.
Those of us who deliver this booklet to you would appreciate hearing from you. you may want to consider whether you are ready to read it. we would like to hear from you. If you are 110 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Or. If it fails to help. As you begin to read this. you bring the questions that most of us bring. too. It‟s most basic goal. at the end of the booklet.Facing Grief with Faith What questions do you bring to this booklet? If you are like many of the rest of us. though. Look at the front of this booklet for contact information. Let them know whether this booklet has served you well. is to provide information about how to live through a grief experience with Christian faith. These are questions like these: What is grief? What is the best way to understand what happens to us when we grieve? Is grief good for us? If so. we would like to know this. If it helps you or helps us to be more effective in helping others. your church is identified. what is good grief? How do we know that we are grieving well or not so well? Are there signs that may help us? How does personal Christian faith speak to our grief? This book aims to answer these questions.
With heartfelt sincerity.feeling acute pain because you are grieving. we hope that this booklet is helpful for you. you may not want to read this at this time. please read on. Still. 111 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . even if you are now grieving and you believe that you can reasonably focus on the material here.
Surely.Understanding Grief The word “death” sounds like an ominous one. Almost always. or even nausea. Or when a pet dies. then. or a home burns. than our need to sleep. sometimes 112 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Whether we use the word or not. Here are some of the things that we have in common: Grief is painful. a valued possession such as a wedding ring is lost. but it is not the only one. We wonder what life may be like without him or her. we feel deeply about the prospect of loss. when we anticipate the loss of someone we love. For now. in the few days that follow a death. We are more aware of the tightness in our throats than ordinary hunger. people grieve. Because many of us have lost a loved person to death. when someone we care about is threatened by death. We feel uneasy. we are talking about the grief that comes when a loved person dies. we do not hear about death as something that feels good. is the hurt we feel. we know that we have a lot in common with others who have experienced the same loss. Grief. this is the most common kind of significant loss. Many individuals feel grief when they go through a divorce. Grief comes to us in many different ways. In fact. we think first about the loss of someone we love. It is an emotional and physical reaction to this loss. it hurts so much that we feel and think of almost nothing else. Usually. It hurts. after an important personal loss. We are more aware of a disturbed stomach. we anticipate hurt--or grief. Instead. though.
let them help you to recognize that others 113 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . as if our loss has taken over our lives. If you are grieving. they either are experiencing it now or have experienced it in the past. Let them. although this may be hard to believe. Grief is directional. If you are feeling acute pain at this time. Many people you know understand grief because they have felt it and worked through it. Even if they do not experience grief exactly the same way you do. from acute pain to acceptance to feeling much like our former selves. Your feelings and your unique loss may be shared with others. We move naturally through several stages. If you are grieving now. Your pain itself may simply be a sign of feeling normally about a significant loss. Grief is personal. Instead of letting your very personal feelings of loss separate you from others because they are not feeling grief as acutely as you are. but no one feels your feelings exactly the way you do. you may be feeling some of these things. but they are normal. These things make us wonder what‟s happening to us. They can help you. We feel concentrated on our loss. You feel grief your way. And no one thinks about it exactly the way you think about it. not exactly like anyone else. you know that grief is personal. but do not let it separate you from others who have lost the same person that you have. you will come to feel better.wondering whether a disease of some sort may have afflicted us. We see ourselves sighing deeply or breathing in unusual ways or muscle twitches that we have not seen or noticed before. This is important.
planning a vacation. a bank balance. A job. The familiar markers that tell them that life goes on are not very important. Grief moves slowly. Grief is more than hurt. You may want to remind yourself that grief moves slowly. and other common aspects of life to which we give attention during normal times don‟t get attention at all. you may not feel that your time is moving slowly.have experiences losses similar to yours and may be helpful for you. this is normal. too. time seems almost to stop. You may notice that your feelings today are not quite as intense as they were yesterday. to move very slowly. we know better. These feelings are normal. say.” If you were to ask more questions about feelings. It is the moving that is important. maybe. almost universally you will hear. two years. immediately following a loss. watching a football game on television. if not stop. For many people who lose a loved one to death. Logically. when grief is felt most deeply. It says that. If you do. If you ask anyone what it feels like to grieve. The hurt of grief is the most common feeling. but time seems to stop or. Those who are acquainted with grief can affirm this for you. your life will resume the pace that it had before your loss. although sometimes they don‟t seem like it. If you are grieving. and have seen their family member suffer usually know that 114 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . “It hurts. Your may hear references to relief or confusion or. sooner or later. Many individuals who have cared for a critically ill family member for a long time. making new friends. you would hear about other ones. guilt or hostility.
” “I still wonder whether we found the right doctor. why wouldn‟t we raise questions about what we may have done right or wrong? Mostly. they are often relieved to know that their loved one is no longer suffering. So.” When someone close to us dies. 115 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Hostility or anger is a more challenging feeling.” After death. why wouldn‟t we raise questions about what happened? We know how we second guess ourselves when we lose a key or a bill that we should have paid or any number of other things. always wanting to do the good and right things for those who are loved. This is normal. People who grieve sometimes say things like this: “If I had been more attentive to what she needed. I should have done more. These questions tell us that we wish with all our hearts that we could have done more than we did. we are offended. Guilt often comes up.“it‟s time to let go. she would still be with us. This is the way love works. these questions are signs of love. given the much higher importance of losing a loved one to death.” “I know that I should have taken him to the hospital long before I did. very much like doing all that we can do to ease the suffering that our loved one carried before death. too. as uncomfortable as they are. When loss is experienced as an insult.
without her assistance. After all. These other feelings are normal. For example. the bills fall on him. My life was great. These adjustments are at least a nuisance and at most lifechanging. 116 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The bigger point is that grief is more than hurt or sadness. consider the man who loses his wife. “Why did this have to happen to me. This is okay. in anticipation of all this? Your grief may not include guilt or anger. the children are his exclusive responsibility.” Even when hostility or anger are not as obvious as this. not to mention the acute loneliness that usually sets in for a while. maintaining the home. it‟s not worth living. you are likely as normal as everyone else who has experienced them. Now. saving for the children‟s college expenses. If you have them. along with getting back into church life. Now. Why not be a little angry.We ask. Now. numerous adjustments must be made. Now. he must take care of everything. following the loss of a loved one. too. and on and on. it may pop up.
loss is always important. but I‟m just going through the motions. let‟s consider something in between “Yes” and the rest of your life. grief may seem to be “crazy. With love. I talk about him like he was a stranger. Grief feels bad. though. What‟s wrong with me. I‟ll be walking around the house.” The longest answer is that it takes a life time to answer. At any specific point in time. I can‟t think about her without getting choked up. You should see me when I eat. For now. without much feeling. Am I crazy or what? I talk to him as if he‟s there beside me.” When you consider your grief. Grief is an affirmation of love.Is Grief Good? Is grief good? The shortest answer is “Yes. I‟m not enjoying it. You know. With love. Without love. Then. or whatever—and I lose it. 117 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . but it is natural and healthy. It is feeling bad because of the loss of someone you love that makes it good. Grief is a response to a real and significant loss. though. loss means grief. her glasses. the loss of someone else would not be felt as important. It doesn‟t taste like anything to me. you may have some of the following thoughts. I may look like I‟m enjoying it. I see something—her chair. Feeling bad does not make grief good. her picture. I guess I haven‟t really accepted my loss. I wonder whether I‟m being disrespectful. a genuine attachment to someone else. I just can‟t.
While 118 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . The fact is that many variables affect movement through these stages. Consider your thoughts about these various circumstances. and two children. Oh. a twenty one year old man is murdered because another young man was interested in the same young woman. a thirteen-year-old girl hangs herself. It‟s almost irreverent. Grief moves through a process so that at one time a person may be paralyzed and at another time may be enjoying the memory of the one who died. One. This also says something about the stages through which grieving person pass. remember that your way of moving through them may not be just like anyone else‟s. a flash flood took the lives of the entire family--mother. As you consider these stages. Also. Your movement may not carefully resemble the stages that are described here. And I shake my head and bring myself back to reality. father. Five. Some of them may appear to be strange. you‟ll never know how funny she could be.I find myself wondering whether I really cared. these statements tell us about many different reactions to significant personal loss. now. Obviously. I have hundreds of stories. but they are normal and healthy. though? Are they healthy? Yes. Four. following rejection by her girl friends. Three. a seventy-six year old man dies. Two. Are they normal. they are both-healthy and normal. But she left a lot of us with a lot of funny memories. after losing vision and hearing and after suffering with an illness for several years. a thirtytwo-year-old mother of three dies abruptly in an automobile accident. they say a great deal about the process of grief.
Shock does not allow us. here are the stages of grief. you are not experiencing shock. it is a normal reaction to 119 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . she resumed doing what she was doing before the knock on her door. seem strange. The one who is shocked may behave in ways that. the process of their grieving may be complicated by some of these events. as if she may not have heard the news. Allowing for things that may make grief a complicated process. and sobs uncontrollably. say. She goes back to the table. screams. The knock on their door is followed by the news of their son‟s death. grief is more or less intense and more or less complicated by the depth of our relationship with the deceased person. she stands.everyone who loved these individuals grieved. and probably many other things that are unique to the relationship between the deceased and those who survive. As strange as her behavior may appear. You may want to keep in mind that each of us moves through these stages in unique and personal ways. such as suicide or murder. Shock means that the individual has heard that someone died and is emotionally stunned. A couple is having dinner. Her response is not unusual. Loss shocks those who lose. to sit calmly and read a newspaper. and our belief about his relationship with God. The chances are that if you are reading this. his age. She was overwhelmed and. For most of us. instead of looking at her loss straightforwardly. It indicates that her personal life was altered to such an extreme that she could not make sense of the change. Shock is being stunned. in looking back at them. After a few minutes.
It is a phase of grief. The grieving person is confused by this response. a time during which the loss is not yet accepted as final.” Numbness.” Feelings seem to be frozen. you are likely wondering about the seeming unreality of what is happening to you. it is the mind‟s and body‟s way of protecting itself. Typically. For a short time. You feel tempted to deny what you know to be true and confused by this temptation. Another stage of grief is numbness.” Or. too. Another major phase of grief is a struggle between fantasy and reality. At least momentarily. And. “Why can‟t I get things done? This just isn‟t like me. instead of absorbing the loss and making the necessary adjustments that the loss require. “I can‟t seem to get a grip on the situation. I go to the kitchen. If you are experiencing numbness. just like I always have. Those who are acquainted with grief remember moments when they wished that the death had not occurred and tried hard to believe that it had not happened. Sometimes action is frozen. She showed shock. following the death of a loved one. This means that. Simply put. it suspends the necessity of going on with life. you are not likely reading this. “After I finish my shower and brush my teeth. the individual “goes through the motions. I can‟t think. You wonder whether what you know to be true is really true.overwhelming news. 120 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I‟m going in circles. If you are reading this and experiencing numbness. is a normal response to overwhelming loss. this is utter disbelief that such an overwhelming event has occurred. it lasts a fairly short time. This is not denial. too.
And then you see yourself doing this and wonder what‟s wrong with you. You feel stuck with big 121 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I turn to look because I expect to see my little girl there.” Or. but that‟s what I do. Another major phase of grief is release. They are ways of struggling to accept the reality of your loss and to integrate this reality into your life. Whether you just think about wishing your loved one had not died or act on the wish.you know what. But he isn‟t there anymore. One is relief and the other is confusing. The important thing for you to hear is that this struggle between fantasy and reality is normal. though. There is no way to hide it or to pretend that it isn‟t true. “When I‟m shopping for groceries and I hear kids laughing. I know it sounds crazy. It cannot be denied. You cry. In your own way. Both. are parts of a phase of grief that is quite normal. That‟s hard to accept. your behaviors are normal. you find yourself doing what you have always done. He‟s always there.” Often this struggle includes times when grief seems to have evaporated and other times when grief seems to have taken over one‟s life. You get the newspaper and put it where he sits and reads it when he gets home. As peculiar as this behavior or your own may seem. The loss is real. The pain is real. it is often an indicator of how much you wish that your loved one were still with you and that you are continuing to struggle with major adjustments in your life. your feelings pour out. such as placing the paper by his chair for him. I really expect him to be there. The loss and the pain express themselves. Maybe.
” If you need to cry. He also loves every one of our personal expressions of life. Keep in mind that your feelings are real and that they will come out in some way. There is no standard way for you to grieve. Keep in mind.” Most people get to this time in a day or two. as if they somehow have a life of their own. too. Let your feelings go. There is no schedule you should follow. and more--subside. Expressing grief is not an affront to God. but your time to feel the loss may take weeks. listlessness. almost everyone else you know is not releasing feelings. you don‟t need them. you release your feelings.” “Let God have your tears. Also. just as God loves life. along with other common physical complaints. Just as God loves life. You look at yourself and think that your life is one long “ouch. it is an acknowledgment of your love of life. “Don‟t cry. too. The tightness in your throat goes away. that those who try to tell you not to release your feelings are not giving you good advice. You may feel like you can‟t get control of your feelings. cry. This is okay. You may feel like a social misfit during the phase of release. the release of your feelings leaves you feeling much better. After all. the physical pain-fatigue. This is simply a time during which all the things you have not known how to express come out. This is not a problem. 122 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Oddly. you will be okay. including our expression of painful feelings. including headaches or sleeplessness. while you feel a lot of pain and feel it deeply and constantly. So.feelings.
this is an important sign that the grieving person is beginning to regain a reasonable and balanced memory of the one who died. and feeling good about being there. even it you feel a surge of pain. even if again you feel occasional episodes of pain. This is a way of saying that from the beginning of your loss to a time when life looks pretty good again. It is receiving a Christmas card for the one who died. Ken Doka says.” Many grieving persons believe that when they begin to remember enjoyable. you move from a time when the balance tilted in the direction of sore and raw memories to a time when the balance is tilted in the direction of liking to remember the one who died and enjoying reminiscing about the lost one with others who 123 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . but the end of memory with great pain. pleasant. It is a sign of beginning to resume some of the normal routines of life. funny times that they had with the one who died. instead of holding only a sad and painful memory. Learning to live with memories goes from seeing yourself flooded with memories to seeing yourself simply enjoying remembering. Not so. Instead. Usually. they have betrayed the one they lost. pews. causing you a momentary stab of pain and a pleasant recollection of the sender of the card and of the one who died. and other things.Another major phase of grief is learning to live with memories. learning to live with memories shows itself in enjoying a meal--really enjoying it--and thinking about the one you lost. “The end of grief is not the end of memory. seeing familiar people. It is going back to church.
For many of us. Having come this far. You recognize that memories of your loss bring gratitude. While exuberant hope may not be what you feel. After a while many reminders of the one who died are welcome. A part of living well is getting back into life. you are okay with the memories.knew him or her. as if you have concluded that you can go on with life and that you will be okay. vacation home. It is helping your Sunday School class make pies for a Christmas celebration at church. without stabbing pain. during the worst times of your grief. or wherever--that remind you of the one you lost. even embrace it. without wishing unrealistically that it could be restored. grief brings you to acceptance and affirmation. Eventually. It is 124 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You may wonder about how you could have felt so bad. the expectation of getting there is close to what you feel. visiting relatives. this means that we begin to do things with others. From one side of the balance to the other takes a long time. You feel a renewed confidence in life. the symphony. without your spouse. It is helping a neighbor to pour a concrete patio. you are ready to accept your loss. you come to a time when you enjoy talking about your memories of the one you lost to death. It is going to the beach with your children. You talk about the one you lost and appreciate the relationship for what it was. and to affirm life. you are quite comfortable hearing their questions and giving them answers. So. but believe that life is for living and that living well is what you will do. When you go places--church. when people ask about your loss and the one who died. Finally.
as if life has cheated them. you are inclined to think. Get help. such as pastors or deacons. Whether you use these words or not. Others use their loss to solicit prolonged sympathy from their loved ones and other helpful individuals. Others maintain hostility. All of these individuals combines represent a small minority of persons who grieve. afraid to take reasonable chances on life. as if your loss has taught you to appreciate life in a way that is more meaningful than you had before your loss. Some do not recover from loss. Others withdraw from life. Some try to go on with life. Getting back into life seems to be less and less of a challenge.sponsoring a wedding shower. 125 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . “Life is good. Don‟t prolong your deep discomfort. please consult with a professional person who can help you. If you believe that you may have one of these problems. some people do not make it through the process of grief.” Of course. This may be your minister or a mental health professional. Others become bitter. Life can be much better than you are letting yourself make it. thinking that their loss is a kind of sick punishment against them. denying that the loss has occurred and building an increasingly morbid view of life.
126 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . we have questions. as if love. wanting something that will clear away some of the mystery and maybe ease your pain. may not be real. quiet or not. Grief and the Christian Hope Death seems to many of us to be a kind of phantom invader. you read this booklet. though. “Why?” and no one seems to have the answer. consider this prayer. Others cannot tell you how to grief or how to make sense of your grief. Along with the rest of us. attacking us and making us feel extremely vulnerable. Sometimes. Death seems to ride thunderously into our quiet lives and leave us feeling pain. including the love of God.Death. And we hurt. you ask. though. any more than you have to justify the pain that comes when you drop a book on your toe. You should never think that you should have to justify the pain of loss. The answers to your questions must be important and real for you. Phantom or not. even when we have anticipated our loss. Our loss is real. And now. and no one seem able to ease your pain. Maybe. You hurt. death is real. as a way to begin to connect your experience with Christian hope.
your death noticed me. it was bad. now I will be quiet and listen for you. not noticed. So. maybe. I noticed death. Or. Lord. I have said all of these things and many more. I should say that death noticed me. Now. Your death noticed me. I lack the words to say more. In anticipation of my birth. stared me down. What could I say about your endurance of death. God can do whatever he wants? I don‟t care? What a way to go. I have noticed your endurance of death. No. Or. your suffering on the cross? I bet that hurt? Sure. You may know that I would be quite content to avoid death altogether. I have noticed death. it got everybody‟s attention? Well. I have noticed death. but everybody has to die sometime? Was it sacrifice or self-service? Big deal. but I don‟t seem to have this option.Dear God. But then. 127 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . should I say that death noticed me? Your death. So. I have seen the cross. but that was a long time ago? It was cruel. Once I recognized the truth—that you endured death for me—I lacked the words to say more.
The Christian church is an affirmation of life. You are not alone. as the cessation of life and as alienation from God. The Christian faith sees death in two ways. Why would hope be considered or needed. if there were no death? So. Your church brings life out of death. Your church says to you. We acknowledge your value as a person. The threat of death. even in the face of death. amen. with both its meanings. at the heart of the Christian faith is the clear affirmation of God‟s love for us. as paradoxical as it seems. These values are alive in you. Your values have not been destroyed by your loss. “We know 128 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . We provide a caring and supportive fellowship for you. if there were no death. The Christian faith affirms death and grief as a part of life. “We stand with you in believing that God is the source of life. We say to you that honesty. including His tender and enduring denial of death as a barrier to life. truth. If you are reading this. Here are some of our answers. We comfort you in your grief. Many of us have looked at death and faith. is the basis of God‟s action in providing a means of salvation.” This is affirmed in Scriptures. caring. worship.In the Name of Jesus whose death noticed me. We share your questions and probably many more than you have raised. there would be no hope. Thus. Salvation through Jesus Christ is offered to save us from sin and death. you have an interest in trying to understand life and death in the context of Christian faith. and commitment are important to us.
Hope--and the chance of landing in the warmth of God‟s eternal embrace--beats cynicism and despair. But. we are more 129 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). also. we look at life differently. at least for a while. this is not always clear to us. this consideration leads to the conclusion that God loves us. Sooner or later. my God. our pain is the most obvious feature of our lives. though. This is the heart of our shared faith. “Father. why has thou forsaken me” Matthew 27:46. hope which requires a leap of faith. because we love the brethren. or persecution. In this inseparable relationship with God. For many of us.that we have passed out of death unto life. Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation. we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. we feel the cry. As the prayer above suggests. or distress. “For thy sake we are being killed all the daylong.” (1 John 3:14). just because it is a leap. or peril. in all these things. there is hope. “My God.” No. death calls our attention to a careful consideration of God in our lives. With Jesus. or famine. despite the hurt of grief. Hope is found in relationship with God. we feel his acceptance of death. or nakedness. It is a leap of faith that may be risky. His leap of faith is much like ours. Neither death nor grief can separate us from God‟s love. after intense pain begins to fade. we can claim hope in the face of death and when we feel grief. When we grieve. Because of God‟s love. or sword? As it is written. but not leaping is a much bigger risk. As often as not.
too. Just as loving persons. my prayer for you is that your faith community reaches out to you and that you allow them to care for you. You may cry as much as you crave life. Both in this life and in the life to come. You may hurt more than you help. and in everything else. God‟s love surrounds you. For now. nor anything else in all creation.than conquerors through him who loved us. nor angels. nor life. such as members of your family or neighbors or ministers. For I am sure that neither death. RSV) Nothing can separate us from the love of God. You may play as much as you pray. nor depth. In all of this. you are alive. present. will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Grief and God are compatible experience. In your grief. nor things. So. in your grief even now. nor principalities. that you feel His presence. You may laugh as much as you labor. nor things to come. nor powers. nor height. this is the substance of our hope. the outcome of our belief. (Romans 8:35-39. as you grieve. and that hope sustains you. surround you. God loves you. God finds you. and the security of our acceptance. My prayer for you is that you allow God to find you. 130 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . the heart of our faith.
preserve us in your memory. attend to my needs and their needs. 131 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . for you have given me all I needed so far and have made my life better than I could have made it alone. as you have been with me all along.Prayers for Your Journey The prayers here are intended to offer encouragement for those whose life may be in jeopardy and for those who care for them. because this is a challenging time for me and those around me. you have known me. With its challenges. In this moment. Before I was born. I ask for and expect little more than I have already received from you. you will know me. too. Amen. Beyond this life. Dear Lord. Throughout my life. In this moment. as a living feature of your creation. God bless you. I am grateful for life and my relationship with you. and sustain us with your grace. In this moment. for you have made me and nurtured me for life. I come with a need for assurance that you will be with me. you knew me.
today? Only forgiveness. especially something that we may not rightly deserve. So. If we are assured of this. all we have to offer is gratitude. If we have allowed our spirits to become contaminated by jealousy. Thank you. forgiving others. And in response. greed. and many other forms of selfishness. and much more. If we have forgotten where our worth comes from and let the purity of our hearts get stained by things that are not good for us. But here we are. please forgive us. 132 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . If we have taken important things for granted--protecting children. Forgiveness is enough. please forgive us. please forgive us. what can we ask of you. Even as we acknowledge that we have not earned it. asking for something more. loving one another. please forgive us. We have asked for so much from you and received it that you may not want to hear from us again. everything else is okay.Dear Lord. If we come to you again. giving generously. We are grateful. your forgiveness is sufficient. coming to you again. Amen.
This makes us feel small and unimportant. and the punch line in almost every political speech. though. If he has faith in me. now. if it gives my son faith in me. Faith tempts us. Faith tempts us..‟ It demands that I take chances. maybe I can have faith in You. It causes me to laugh at my silliness. Faith invites us to gamble on a God about which we have heard a great deal. though. This makes me feel small. because it calls on us to believe in you. Faith tempts me. the droning recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. instead of others. Through my need to have my son believe in me. 133 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . These echoes make faith seem hollow. because I need for my son to believe in me. Faith stalks me. Faith tempt us. I need for him to have faith that I will protect him and that I will seek to provide all good things for him. because this is the right thing to do. but whose presence seems more like a ghost in the night than a loyal friend or mom or dad. Lord. I have discovered faith. just like the faith that has tempted me in the past.Dear God. Faith makes us laugh. Faith sticks in our throats. because a lot of people of faith do silly things and make us look wise and smart. the temptation is different. Now. Faith tempts us. Faith echoes in our minds from the prayers we heard in school.
In reaching out. Lord. in the quietness of this moment. Lord. Tempted to claim faith. 134 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Now. I reach out to You. Lord? And. It has tempted me all my life. I pray for faith. Tempted to believe. are you reaching back? Amen. Faith tempts me. It causes me to think of those whom I love and for whom I want with all my heart to provide good things.Faith tempts me. I pray. is this faith.
and of course more and more money.Dear God. wanting to satisfy ourselves with cell phones. We have taken the challenge to get all we can for ourselves and to work hard to get all we can get. affection. Let us hear the voices of the people we work with so that we may give them the support and comfort they need. Especially. The problem is that our hard work has caused us to grow deaf. just like us. the less we hear the voices of others. Let us hear the voices of our families who need our interest. filling stations were we buy gas. too scared. We are too busy. and carry our rightful responsibilities with them. flight attendants with whom we fly. let us hear the voices of our children. The more energy we put into getting things for ourselves. big screen tv‟s. and all others whom we may easily regard as neutral objects. larger homes. We like everything we have and struggle to get more. Let us hear the voices of friends who may be afraid of getting old or who may be worried about what their children are becoming or whose jobs have betrayed their important needs or who simply need us as friends with whom to share good times. 135 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Let us hear the voices of clerks in stores where we shop. share their joy. Help us to hear again. and responsibility. as background noise—just stones in the road—instead of persons. and too tired to listen.
instead of becoming deaf to us. mind and spirit. as we seek to enjoy life in your presence.Lord. thank you for hearing this prayer. Lord. And thank you for helping us to hear again. 136 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . let us hear the voices within ourselves as we search for ways to keep ourselves healthy in body. let us listen to you. Amen. and to enjoy the lives you have given us. Lord.
industrious robins. drifting clouds. making the planet healthy. a world in harmony with itself. ripening apples. hammering woodpeckers. laughing voices. welcoming each day. lighting fireflies. swirling tornadoes. healing hurts. falling snow. we see the secrets of nature‟s world. scurrying squirrels. a world in harmony with itself and our role in keeping it in harmony: making peace. taking risks for things that are right. racing chipmunks. visiting those who are bound to their beds. wagging tails. Dear Lord. working to make neighbors secure. Free from the bruising burden of blind ambition. renewing dawns. nurturing children. 137 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . blowing breezes.discovering wisdom. communing ants. and much more than we can readily comprehend. freed from the bruising burden of blind ambition. we see the secrets of nature‟s world. sparkling stars. nourishing rain. belching volcanoes. singing wrens. staying with those who are dying. budding black-eyed Susans. unfolding leaves. warming sun. webmaking spiders.Dear Lord. rippling water.
we commit ourselves to live in harmony with others and with nature‟s world that all of us share. communicating love. sharing resources sacrificially. confronting bigotry. speaking and doing the truth. respecting differences. Amen. preserving the dignity of all persons. Lord. With this prayer. 138 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .doing the right things.enjoying ourselves and loving life. eliminating oppressors. your love for us and for the world in which you have placed us call for us to invest ourselves in maintaining nature‟s harmony.building families. With this prayer. we express our hope that we shall become sources of harmony. confessing our wrongs and owning fault.
communities and world may be welcoming places for everyone who lives in them.Dear Lord. new opportunities for loving. challenges for growth for us. Our prayer is that you may be the Lord of Love so that all of us can live with an awareness of the realness of love in our lives and an ever increasing capacity to bring others into the circle of love. Our prayer is that you may be the Lord of Life so that our consciousness of life may prompt us to act in ways that help to sustain and enhance all life. Our prayer is that you may be the Lord Of Living so that what we do today matters more than looking too far ahead or too far behind and so that we find our ultimate security in you. As we make our journey through this life and into the next one. Amen. Our prayer is that you may be the Lord of Newness so that every day brings fresh. 139 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and a renewed commitment to service. our prayer is that you will open our minds and hearts to love so that our homes.
I have lost valuable possessions to thieves. My soul is well.” I have been loved by friends who didn‟t have to love me. I have seen the scarred child whose parents hated him. Lord of Life. I survived a massive tornado.Lord of Life. while everything around was destroyed. every failure. I have seen my job disappear and my debt rise. Thank you. I have held my mother‟s hand in her final moment of life. “It‟s cancer. when her son. You have been with me through every triumph. every good night‟s rest. I have endured more than I believed I could. a life taken because of a drunk driver. I have felt the betrayal of a loving friend. every trauma. anyway. You have been with me through every challenge. every gesture of love. was murdered. I have seen my mother weep. but did. my brother. and every annoyance. I have received the call that told me about my nephew‟s death. my soul is well. 140 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Thank you. every success. at first. and every other good thing. I have heard news that I could not hear.
Thank you. I have let my heart succumb sunset beauty. it is the Presence that comforts me and holds me accountable. 141 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . It is the absolute Security that comes after everything else has been said and done. no matter what. I have seen the consummate joy in my daughter‟s eyes. Amen. I have seen the persistent love of friends. It is the Confidence that holds my soul.Lord of Life. I have held my granddaughter in her first moment of life. what is this thing called faith? For me. Lord of Life. I have watched indigo buntings play in my trees. Thank you. Lord of Life. my soul is well. And. It is the bright Hope that welcomes me in all of life and beyond death. I have lived with a loyal and faithful woman. I have heard the music that only you could have inspired. Thank you. my soul is well. my soul is well. I have witnessed the passion for justice flow into effective action.
How can my faith be strong when I am weak? How can my spirit heal when I feel broken? Why do I see evil in my world. If nothing else. I have small questions. I have questions. 142 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . are you really there? Anywhere? Somewhere? Here? And now? I ask my questions. my questions tell me that I don‟t understand nearly as much of my world and the way life works as I should and that I need to challenge the idea that I can easily believe in God.Dear Lord. like “If God made spiders and equipped them to make their large and intricate webs. shouldn‟t I believe in God?” Mostly. Maybe. thousands. though. on a very large scale? Why do both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans claim Your endorsement of their causes? Lord. I have hundreds of questions. I have big questions about the basic meaning of my existence.
I see the cross as sacrifice that is larger than I have given.And. I also have glimpses of God‟s concern about me and my questions. much more. loss and love are real. And. suffering. then. God‟s sacrifice. what more could I ask? Amen. 143 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I see loss that is greater than I have sustained. I see the cross. My questions are real. too. more than I am capable of giving. Now that I see. I see the cross and how insignificant my questions may be. more than my strongest moments could tolerate. I see love that is much more than I have done. I see suffering that is more severe than I have carried. but when I see the cross. I have my questions. loss that would probably kill me.
the spirit that fills our hearts with hope. the soul that inspires the urge to sing and dance. Let us sing a song of highest praise. for you are the promise of life fulfilled without any reservation of giving yourself for us and to us. and the majestic welcome that awaits us when we arrive to be with you. Let us dance with jubilant bodies and hearts. and the spirit of every sacred sound that gives meaning to all sound.Heavenly Soul of All Souls. and the mercy that makes every morning a welcome one. for you are the light that guides us home where we may forever sing with magnificent voices. for you are the one who served us with yourself when using your power for yourself would have impressed us. for you are the life that fills all music and the bodies who wish to express the life you have given us. the humility that makes masters of everyone else. Let us serve with persistent dedication and joy. Let us speak with voices of impregnable sincerity. the strength of presence that stays with us. 144 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
and the sweet gentleness that comes with redemptive power. Let us love in the manner that we wish to be loved. let us be still and feel your presence. In gratitude. and the transcendent being toward whom we move with all our being. dance. the caring presence that secures us in our love. speak. In this moment. we sing. in this life. and love. dance. Now. when we can again sing. serve. Amen. 145 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and love. as we anticipate life forever with you. speak. We hope that we are your creation fulfilling itself. We know that you watch us and smile. for you are the unlimited gift of love to us and the spirit of love that we take to everyone else. serve.
We choose to act on our own behalf. Lord. plant in our souls the renewed capacity to believe in the miracle of your intervention on our behalf and in each one of us as miracle. You gave us your love and a capacity to love. as a sacrifice on our behalf. but we often choose to live dull lives. but we want more than you gave. but we call on destiny and on our self-reliance. you gave us yourself. You gave us the ability to dream. Open our minds so that we may feel comfortable 146 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . shaming you as inadequate. but we often choose lives of despair. You gave us an earth of plenty to sustain us. Lord. You gave us more than we could ever hope for. as if your sacrifice either was not enough or had not been made. You gave us plenty for everyone. but we have persisted in manufacturing hate and war.Trusting God. You gave us our lives to live in the hand of your favor. but we live as if your plenty should be reserved for some and not for others. to act as if life is a miracle. but we wonder whether you did enough. as if life may mean nothing.
Fill us with consciousness of the fullness of life and the constancy of your presence. Renew our spirits. 147 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Open our future so that we can hope beyond hope from the many gifts that are more than we could have hoped for. Open our spirits so that we may re-discover the ability to dream And to believe in the sanctity of all life and act as if life is a miracle. Open our eyes. again and again. again. Open our wills so that we may sustain ourselves with the good work of caring for your planet.with living in the hand of your favor. minds. make us miracles. now. Come. Lord. Open our compassion so that we may provide service for those who need what we have Open our hearts so that your love shows in our capacity to love So that we make peace—of mind and among all persons. Come. hearts. and souls to the miracle of life with which you have blessed us. Lord. now.
Come. Amen. and remind us that you are here and that you never left us. Lord. 148 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . now.
I expect gratitude. I anticipate something. without knowing what it may be. maybe. Usually impatient. Your promises inspire me. but they are so much smaller than yours. Those who are powerful haven‟t worked so well for me. Why? Why do I contemplate what it means to anticipate dying? I contemplate because Your power threatens me. though. Your grace invites me. 149 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Mystery for most of us choosing between chocolate and vanilla. Your endurance frustrates me. When I help others. For now. I keep my promises.Dear God. I may be more willing to pass from this life to something else. I want what I want and I want it now. My grace is usually contaminated by what is expected of me and sometimes anger. more important. If I knew what to expect. And. I contemplate what it means to anticipate dying. Your ministry challenges me. Your mystery intrigues me. I hate the thought of dying.
Your words provoke me. I need comfort more than I think about giving it. Your sacrifice exposes me. Usually, I am concerned about the return on my investment. Your presence haunts me. I need you and feel a little nervous about how much I need you. Threat? Intrigue? Invitation? Challenge? Inspiration? Frustration? Provocation? Comfort? Exposure? Haunting? Needs? This sounds like a relationship to me. For this, Lord, I am grateful. Thank you. Amen.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Dear Lord, The first time is exciting. The first time I lost my favorite dollar because I never really had a dollar before. The first time I ordered a meal in a restaurant I grew in my understanding of the way the world works. The first time I felt the passion of music as mine, as something I desired, I took a small step toward adulthood. The first time I touched a girl as a woman, holding her hand, I felt more scared than manly, but no longer an unaware little boy, either. The first time I recognized my blood as a very limited quantity I began to wonder why I had to die. The first time I walked further than anyone in my family had walked I expected them to follow, but they didn‟t, leaving me too long for family that I could never have, again. The first time I encountered you—God—I felt precious and small, intimidated and intrigued, wanted and sent, special and ordinary, empowered but fragile. The first time is exciting. Lord, I can hardly wait for the time—if it‟s time—when I meet you. Now or later, for the first time. Amen.
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Lord, No one in the universe holds as many secrets about me as you do. I feel safe with you most of the time, believing that you are love. You take my good secrets as well as the bad ones and receive them as gifts, as acts of worship. By hearing my secrets, you invite me to risk change. When I am most honest with you, revealing my secrets, fearfully removing my mask, showing you my real self, I feel close to you, Lord, daring to be brave, good and open, as if I have seen and felt your secret of eternal life. Even if it almost scares me to death, I feel like I am given life, a life newly conceived in eternal love, when I am truly honest with you. When I am truly honest with you, I am somehow born again. Amen.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Holy Presence, Are you with me, Lord? Because of you, I work to make the strange familiar to me. I hear you are the Good Shepherd. I have never met a shepherd and have never seen a sheep. Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. How do I do this? I hear that you changed water into wine. I have never seen such a thing. Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you were born of a virgin. I believe that this is not possible. Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you came to save the Israelites. What kind of “lites” are they? How do I turn them on? Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you fed five thousand people with just a few loaves and fishes. Really? How could this happen? Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you were a Nice Guy who was mercilessly killed. What did you do wrong? Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you came back to life a few days after you died. Sure, you did. Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you loved your enemies. If you love them, they aren‟t enemies, are they? Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
I hear that you give life. How do you do this? Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. I hear that you sacrificed yourself for me. How could this be? You don‟t even know me. Do you? Do you know my Social Security number? Do you know about my fears that I keep hidden? Do you know anything about me, really? Either you were a charlatan or a severely deluded low-life. Either you tried to make a fool of me or you are God Incarnate. Somehow, I need to make the strange familiar, unless you are the Presence, the life-force, the Spirit of Holiness, within me. Somehow, I need to make this strange thing familiar to me. Are you with me, Lord? Amen.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Lord of Love, Her love lifts me and makes my life something special. She smiles at me and my life is a little more secure. She gives me a card and I have a happy moment. She touches my hand and I feel comfort beyond what she could know. She shares a meal with me and I know that I belong with her. She feeds the wild birds who visit us and confirms you love for your world. She challenges me and keeps my thinking clear. She laughs—sometimes at me— and she brightens my life. She rests with me and restores my energy. She parents with me and helps rear a wonderful child.
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She sings in a private voice and makes things right with the world. She listens to dreams of things that might be and embraces them as her own. She speaks of plans with friends and anticipates a legacy of love. She asks for small favors and lets me know I‟m special. She speaks my name and I hear echoes of heaven. She loves me with constancy and tirelessness and I try to give the same love to her. She places me first without diminishing herself and I place her first without diminishing me. She shares my life and I thank You. Amen.
Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn
Because of all that you have done. Through the cross You led the way and opened the way for us—toward life beyond the life we see. This is our faith now. we want to tell you that we are grateful. You opened the way for us. we confidently express our attachment to the cross because it is the symbol your attachment to us.Dear Lord. Amen. You died for us long before we were alive. now. You loved us long before we considered loving you. now. We are grateful. With this prayer. toward life beyond the life we see. 157 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . You created a world for us long before we assumed that we could manage it. This is our faith forever.
casting them into the hell of endless monotony—without the flames—that their faith promised to help them avoid. The Cross sits in the steaming saunas of 158 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . we are numbers.Holy Man of the Cross. we hear about the cross from red-faced and loud preachers whose grammar and logic twists minds and wrenches commitments from us. our sated hearing ties illusion with other illusions. In our minds and hearts. At least. We turn away. What‟s wrong with good sleep? Or a good meal? Or good giving? Or good sex? Or good sacrifice? Or good parenting? Or a good laugh? Or good honesty? Or good love? Or good limitations? We get tired of defending real life against those who would make almost all of it bad. souls to be counted. They seem to be waiting only for their coffins. dead in the faith that is supposed to give them life. brow-beating us with power-mad persuasion. sweaty greed. and squawking noise. When we hear about The Cross. “brothers” and “sisters” in faith define themselves by once beautiful abstractions that have long since rusted their minds shut. Citing the same things over and over. not loved or served. usually squelching our individuality. We turn away. when they see that it doesn‟t go to church very well. We turn away. Eyes glazing over. We see that life and church have become separate worlds.
crosseyes. Amen. in the hazardous choice of pursuing you as mystery. cross dressers. in the careful deployment of love for you. in our energetic dependence on Someone we can‟t see. Cross. We turn away. Blah. in the silent scream for meaning. . in the need to express our need for you no matter what may come.marginal relevance with other crosses--double-crosses. loss. . . in love for those who love us and those who don‟t. in the invisible beauty of needing you. In the spirit of knowing what we cannot understand. cross walks . in the purposeful but sometimes uncertain will of seeking. Blah. dross. Man of The Cross. in the fiery memories of touching you at times. cross stitch. cross persons. We turn away. . we turn to you. moss. Lord. boss. cross-word puzzles. but we refuse to give up the fight to commit our minds and hearts to you. toss. 159 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Man of The Cross. Blah. in hopeful expectation of awakening to an eternal day. we turn to you.
much more. I wonder. I wake up. I get cold. I complain. Why me? And then I see the spirited enthusiasm of my friend who loves life. It rains. The cold doesn‟t seem so bad. Lord? Why me? Amen. Slow traffic doesn‟t seem so bad. Why me. Why me? And then I hear my granddaughter scream with delight when she gets new crayons. I complain. The rain doesn‟t seem so bad. I complain. Why me? And then consider my sister who lives on a fraction of what I live on. It gets cold. I get wet. I complain. I get tired. She lost her breasts because of cancer. 160 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . I sit in slow traffic.Lord. you have blessed me. I grouse. Tired doesn‟t seem so bad. Why me? And then I meet my friend who needs a heart transplant moving slowly but with more determination than I can comprehend. Why me? And then I remember my father-in-law whose brave and loving encounter with death showed more courage that I can imagine for myself. It thunders. I get bills in the mail. Lord. You have blessed me with rain and cold and family and friends and money and much. I worry about money. The thunder doesn‟t seem so bad. The bills don‟t seem so bad. When I contemplate all that you have given me. Why me? And then I see the kindly eyes of my friend whose son died in Iraq.
161 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Money may not be important. You know how easily I can cite a quip. There is no “I” in “team.” Any day above dirt is a good one. Live life as if every day is a miracle. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Them what can‟t teach. you may be no one. but to someone you may be the world. There‟s no such thing as an unimportant life. Them what can. do. It comes easily. how quickly I can quote just the right source. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. No pain. If you want a job done right. Remember to never mix politics and religion.Dear Lord. teach. do it yourself. teach others to teach. All is fair in love and war. Never lose an opportunity to do kindness and to see beauty. but it‟s way ahead of whatever is in second place. Only the lead dog has a change of view. The bigger they are the harder they fall. I wouldn‟t ask my people to do anything I wouldn‟t do. no gain. To the world. Them what can‟t. What goes around comes around.
you will fall for anything. I‟ll try. what do I have to give? What do I have to say? This may be the most challenging part for me. why I can‟t open my heart to truth and speak. Quite simply. No quips. You‟ll never do it. I need you. I need you. Please.” Lord. No performance to impress you. if you can‟t dream it. Take care of number one. forgive me. make lemonade. I ask why I can‟t cite myself. No clever attempts to be wise. Live may not be great. I‟m not much. If someone gives you lemons. not me. Using the statements from others points to them. After all the quips. No one else will. Help me. I am needy.” I remember “Blessed are those who know their need for God. nothing gained. but you‟ve got me. “I was wrong. It was my fault. Amen. What happens when I point to me? I am left to speak for myself? What do I say? As I survey the wondrous cross and other expressions of your love.Nothing risked. but it sure beats the alternative Act today as you want to remember yourself tomorrow. Loose lips sink ships. 162 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . If you don't stand for something.
keeping ourselves busy with taking care of the house. if nothing else. In this moment. well. We have witnessed our greed. Come in. Today. Lord. shopping for. we know that we cannot truly give you what has been yours all along. some of our failures. we acknowledge your rightful ownership of our day--your day. We hold nothing back from you today. it‟s all yours. Just as you held nothing back from us. We have done it all. keeping the cars running. shopping for groceries. This is your day. welcome to our day. Amen. retirement accounts. just about everything. In giving this day to you. We have worked hard. we give this day to you. And in the process of doing it all have neglected some other important parts of our lives. health insurance. We give it to you with open hearts and minds. and of so much more. just as we try to make ourselves at home with you. 163 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . we wish to correct some of our errors. mortgage payments. We give ourselves to you. of staying alive. Make yourself at home. and so much more. of keeping friends. our preoccupation with money. shopping for clothes.Lord of Heaven and Earth. At least. We have felt the gnawing uncertainty of keeping our families healthy.
along with everything else we have attempted to make eternal. Amen. We look for wisdom that stretches us beyond the ordinary gifts of understanding of which we are capable. We look for ways to preserve life in the richness of the Grace in which you have allowed us to live and to find meaning and purpose in this. we look to the cross so that we may know that when our days are gone. Lord.Dear Lord. we look to the cross. Under the shadow of the cross. just as fresh as the blood you shed there and as fresh as the next breath we take. Yes. you may grant us the undeserved gift of more days. we look to the cross. those of us who are temporary need to know that all will be well for us some day. 164 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . as one of the sources of meaning and purpose that you have given us. God of Eternity. for they are the same. For this. Our prayer is that we may see the cross through fresh eyes. and to avoid merely casting ourselves to the winds of fate. We look for wisdom that helps us to rise above the self-protection that we know inevitably dies.
I hope someone comforts you Until all your tears are dry. Amen. But I cry because Of what I‟ve done to you.Lord. When you see my deep pain As I pray to you. I don‟t dry your tears Or even cry for you. Maybe you cry. too. you call my name And I don‟t come to you. But want to stay the same. Lord. I just hurt myself Because I ignore you. I hear the pain in your voice From a long time ago. I see the hurt in your eyes That brings sorrow to my soul. I hope your pain is gone now And that there‟s no need to cry. 165 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . you call my name And I don‟t come to you. But I cry because Of what I‟ve done to you.
Thank you for nurses. Thank you for grocery stores where I can get almost all the foods I want or need. Thank you for hugs from friends at church. Thank you for cell phones because they help me to keep my family safe. especially on cool nights. Thank you for restful nights. jazz. Thank you for e-mail that allows me to stay in touch with far-away friends. hospitals. when I have them.” Thank you for the seasoned and generous wisdom of older persons. Thank you for watches. native American. folk. and so much more. Thank you for cardboard that makes life a lot easier. Thank you for music--rock „n roll. Thank you for the long filed high school year book with pictures that continue to embarrass. Thank you for hangers that let me neatly keep my clothes in the closet. and physicians. Audrey and Gracie. especially my Mickey Mouse watch. Thank you for the scribbles on paper from my four-year-old that she tells me is “I love you. Thank you for political leaders with integrity and purpose. country. Thank you for football games. Thank you for sugar-rich kisses from my two-year-old. classical. Thank you for friends who call me when I‟m sick. Thank you for convenient and clean rest rooms when I travel.Dear Lord. Thank you for electricity and the hundreds of ways it makes my life better. reggae. Thank you for blankets. with a preference for the ones where my 166 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Thank you for the fun and joy of a homecoming get together. Thank you for orange juice. Thank you for my dogs. Thank you for lumber and other wood products that help me to build things.
but thank you for all of them. Thank You. You have blessed me. Thank you for Your Loving Presence.side wins. Thank you for eyeglasses--enough said about that. Thank you for air conditioning. Thank you for razors. Thank you for letting me love with all my heart and soul. Thank you for insect repellent that keeps me from being eaten during their very small meals. 167 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Thank you for love in which I feel more special that I could ever have imagined. Thank you for marbles and the fun that comes from playing with them. too. Thank you for the sense of smell that lets me draw in the excitement of roses. although my enthusiasm wanes as I shave each day. floods. Thank you for erasable markers and the white boards that make work more enjoyable and sometimes more effective. Thank you for numbers because they help me to make sense of things. tornadoes. freezing and burning. Thank you for sunshine and all other weather things that make life possible--rain. snow. Thank you for road signs that help me to get where I need to go. Amen. Thank you for conscience that also helps me to get where I need to go. and other flowers. although I have my preferences here. Thank you for news programs that help me to know what‟s happening in my world. Lord. Thank you. for obvious reasons. Thank you for airlines that help me to get to far-away places. Thank you for the injured raccoon who comes regularly for more dog food. gardenias. Thank you for friendly and helpful clerks in the stores where I shop. Amen.
Show us those who suffer aches and pains that come with disease and we will act as if the disease is ours. we aspire to give life to others. We believe. something that we could never have given ourselves. We wish to be whole and to live in the bright light of your grace.Holy Source of Life. We acknowledge that you have gifted us with life. In this quiet moment of reflection. but more importantly those whom you love. that we should give much more than a small token or give you a small sign. including those whom we have not yet had an opportunity to love. Show us those who are hungry and we will feed them. for your gift—our gratitude. though. even when it hurts. 168 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . we offer you a small sign. We are willing to give to others. We give life to ourselves by telling you that we are willing to sacrifice for those whom we love. for we have concluded that our hurt does not compare with the hurt that you suffered for us and that our hurt redeems us and makes us whole. we begin with ourselves. we promise to affirm life as we find it. a small token. Holy Source of Life. In response. just as you have given life to us. Holy Source of Life. Show us those who are tormented by their children‟s self-destructive actions with drugs and violence and we will join them in their torment.
and in actions. Show us those whose souls have been hardened by their victimization and we will become a force for justice with them. Show us those who are angry and we will accept them and attempt to meet their needs. making their lives ours. because we are grateful for who we are—gifts. Holy Source of Life. Amen. we aspire to be gifts to others. As gratitude. Show us those who have substituted achievement for love and we will love them— wholeheartedly.Show us those who see themselves as beautiful and we will love them as if they are real—in spirit. making their lives ours. we aspire to be better than we are. Show us those who are weakened by too much service to others for too long and we will serve with them. in looks. 169 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Show us the children whose path has been darkened by absent and negligent parents and we will give them light. Show us those who are frustrated and fearful about their impending deaths and we will comfort them. Show us those who see themselves as ugly and we will love them as if they are beautiful—in spirit. in looks. and in actions. so long as service is needed. Show us those who have withdrawn into desperate walls of loneliness and we will break through the barriers that keep them separate from a loving community and live with them.
You loved us as infants.some would say. “old”--you continue to love us. our prayer to you in this moment is that. And now.Dear Lord. even if it is the hope that comes from our faith. but believe it. you will love us beyond the life we live at this time and will welcome us into a relationship with you that lasts forever. We are mystified by it. In the shadow of the cross. anyway. just as you loved us before we were born. We lack sufficient wisdom and understanding to explain or understand who you are. Despite this. how your love works. and why you love us. as we have grown older-. We believe this. we prefer to live as if we possess the certainty that allows us to live with hope. Amen. 170 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn .
what can we ask of you today. Respecting our limitations and our gifts and talents. everything else is okay. Making peace. We have let the purity of our hearts get stained by many things that are not good for us. especially those who are different from us. So. Loving one another. We have become so caught in the trap of living for the things that give us little satisfaction. Giving generously. Even as we acknowledge that we have not earned it. Amen. We take for granted so much of what is important. violence. greed. Forgiving others readily. Seeking to understand others. We have forgotten where our worth comes from. Thank you.Dear Lord. and many other forms of self-absorption. Protecting children. We acknowledge that our small attempts to be god have kept us small. Only forgiveness. Forgiveness is sufficient. we acknowledge that we are grateful for not having to earn your forgiveness. We allow our spirits to become contaminated by all that you know to be true about us--jealousy. We have asked for so much from you that you may not want to hear from us again. at all costs. Also. even sacrificially. 171 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . your forgiveness is sufficient. Because we are assured of this.
while many others around us lack shelter and other basic necessities? You see us. don‟t you. as we pave over soil that could grow food for hungry persons and run gasguzzling cars and trucks that slowly suffocate the planet? You see us. don‟t you.God of Heaven and Earth. instead of trying to meet their needs? You see us. don‟t you. Lord. while others go hungry? You see us. Amen. don‟t you. don‟t you. or speak languages we don‟t understand? You see us. taking all we can for ourselves. Would you help us to see ourselves as we are? But more than this. just because we can? You see us. You see us. Lord. don‟t you. your children? You see us. don‟t you. as we fearfully withdraw into gated communities. as we choose deny opportunity to others because they are poor. separating ourselves from undesirable others. as we eat far more than we know is healthy for us. as we build assets for ourselves and aggressively want even more. don‟t you. don‟t you. would you help us to see others as they are—just like us. a different color. 172 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . as we accelerate neglect of the earth that sustains us? You see us.
Give us this day our daily bread. too-who need to live with a sense of your presence. Disposing of old paint in the right way. And a willingness to be honest. teach and respect. And teaching knowledge. And protecting water everywhere. just as we want to believe that we are not evil. Free us from the urge to lie and for the need to enjoy each moment. And smiles. And sunshine. And using only necessary electricity. heal. as we listen to children laughing. And flowers. Keep us safe from stomach-churning worry and for heartwarming appreciation. Let us search for smiles and 173 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . as if it were our own bodies. are we right to believe that we cannot hate and therefore sin? Deliver us from evil. as we nurture the earth.Prayerful and Simple Lord. And driving pollution free vehicles. Break the bonds of our greed so that we free to live with or without all that we worry about getting. skills and hope to all others--and us. And see the tears of gratitude of persons who are healed because we took care of them. Forgive us our sins. And comfortable shoes. Your will be done on earth. And thanking you for everything. And a bed with clean sheets. Release us from the habit of judging others and for the opportunities of serving them. And take comfort in the laws of nature so that we may respect everyone? While we laugh.
young and old. Hallowed be your name. we wish to acknowledge you and your power. red and yellow and white and black. And all persons. And loving touches. Traffic signals. Automobile dealerships. Open our hearts to sustained inner peace. Ball-point pens. Amen. bless us also with the sanctity of your visible gifts: Pavement. when we let them. so long as we are willing to help others achieve it. Set in us a mind for love and the uncontrollable urge to extend it to others. liberal and conservative. And hurricanes. the power and the glory. Clean smelling soap. Ink for our printers. Telescopes. a gift surpassing all other gifts. Vacuum cleaners. living and dead. making waterfalls. rich and poor. And planets and suns and stars. And oak trees and maple syrup. American and others--all your children. And for everything else that may increase our awareness of you. 174 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Just as you are the kingdom. Bicycles. Along with the blessed gift of your presence. You are powerful.succumb to attacks of acceptance. male and female.
And I speak to you. Do they welcome me here? Are they afraid of me? Do they know that I intend them no harm and that I would love to listen to them and see them—and nothing more. My footfalls are muffled by the dampened cloak that covers the ground. I need to talk with you today. and carried on breezes. Do I need to talk with you today? Yes. Or. My words stayed there in the woods. in the silence of the woods. a wren. to say to all who need to be there that I was there in the 175 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . with no intention of changing this place? Do you know that I want to protect your woods? We are alone here. Everything else hides in the fog. Here. a gentle fog softens every sound and embraces every sight in a fluffy blanket. Am I a stranger in their home? Or. Their little squeaks and chirps tell me that they don‟t have much to say. Occasionally. too? The trees don‟t groan. is it my home. do you know that I come only as needy. We are alone. And for hearing me. Do they see me? I can‟t tell. The light from the early sun faintly reveals only the nearest trees and leaves and ground. Lord. Thank you for letting me speak. And now a blue jay sounds her morning reveille. the common flicker speaks. tucked under leaves. The leaves don‟t rustle. And squirrels scurry all over the place.Holy Presence. warmed in nests. Who knows what their intentions are.
Notre Dame never sounded so good and St. You welcomed me into the cathedral that you built without human effort. the flicker. Patrick‟s never stood so tall as your cathedral in the woods. I talked with you. In the woods. In the woods. In the woods. the wren. God. Thank you. the blue jay and the squirrel knew this already.presence of God. Maybe. 176 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Amen. Thank you. I am welcomed home. I may found a place where I could affirm my faith and renew my spirit.
Christmas Christ. stars. Lord. while sensing within ourselves that the new-born king. wise men. as if faith itself is only a seasonal thing. we see in Christmas the demands for gifts. and our yearly fantasies about living happily ever after with peace on earth and good will toward all. bathed in holy light and celebrated by choruses of angels. lights. angels. 177 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . What‟s worse is that we pretend that we love what happens to us. we see in Christmas many symbols of your passionate love for your creation--crosses. Lord. a time to bathe in the sweet perfume of the blessings that we assign to ourselves. but most of the time they are more demands than gifts. Lord. and all the rest. We put them up and take them down as the season comes and goes. more stereotyped exchanges of habits than heartfelt gestures of love. mangers. and more signs of our manipulation by those who have something to sell than expressions of faith. we see in Christmas the pages of the calendar flashing through November and December. more easily than we see them as relevant to the way we live. We see in Christmas the baby Jesus who became Christ. as if Christmas were important because it coincides annually with our taste for fruitcake. a time for parties. more comfortably than we see Jesus in a diaper or in blue jeans. our need for a winter‟s vacation.
Our Christmas tells us who we are—human and selfsatisfied. and. though. Forgive us. pleased with our glossy portrayal of you. Our prayer now. Amen. When we remember the cross. Lord. of being better.Lord. With your help. and extraordinarily speedy and efficient. played while you wept. may be gain increasing awareness of the easy pleasures that you denied yourself as you sacrificed yourself for us. while you suffered. we see in Christmas an indictment of who we are and the hope of being different. Forgive us. 178 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . served ourselves while you humbled yourself for us. The feasts of our Christmas appeals to us. very commercial. The sparkles of our Christmas attracts us. we see in Christmas the need to acknowledge to you that we see ourselves in Christmas because of who we are--human. opted for material wealth while you offered us eternal life. like toys to children. for we have partied. is that we shall be able to see you in Christmas because of who you are—God. like moths to a flame. and.
179 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . and retirement-planning. During our “terrible twos. the Alpha and the Omega. we prefer to be in charge. the Alpha and the Omega. Yes. we are in charge. we are in charge. Lord. from Alpha to Omega. However. As god-like moms and dads. the Alpha and the Omega. You are the Lord of Time. we are in charge. You are the giver of life and the promiser of life hereafter.” we are in charge. the Alpha and the Omega. the Alpha and the Omega. Lord. You are the foundation of what we learn and the prize whom we seek. You are the welcoming presence at our birth and the welcoming presence at our death.Dear Lord of Time. As insured. the beginning and end of all time. we are in charge. During invincible adolescence. money-saving. You are the arms that form the left and the right of our living. in between Alpha and Omega.
except for the fact that we shall die. You are. Amen. but. you are in charge of life.We are in charge. our prayer is that you will also be everything in between—Alpha through Omega. We are not in charge of dying or not. Lord. 180 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . be with us. With you in charge. moreover. as the Alpha and Omega. Alpha through Omega. As deeply set as our desire for being in charge may be. we must stop to acknowledge that you are in charge of death.
let me sow love. Where there is hatred. to be understood as to understand. where there is darkness. faith. St. where there is despair. hope. Divine master. joy. and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi 181 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . to be loved as to love. light. where there is doubt. it is in forgiving that we are forgiven. and where there is sadness. make me an instrument of thy peace. Francis Lord. For it is in giving that we receive. grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. where there is injury. pardon.
As you do. As you do. feel God. and to let others care for you. to care for others. 182 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . As you do. work for God. May you gain spiritual health and keep it. May you gain physical health and keep it. But there is more. serve God. But there is more. May you forever keep family and friends. thank God. praise God. All of this is important. But there is more. May you gain emotional health and keep it. share God. But there is more. As you do. But there is more.A BLESSING FOR YOU Give yourself credit for daring to live a life of service. As you do. But there is more. May you fulfill your interest in service and keep it active. But there is more. May you gain a clean conscience and keep it. As you do.
May feel peace of mind and keep it. In God. Claim it. there is always more. 183 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Bless you. As you do. But there is more. As you do. Be open to more. worship God. But there is more. As you do. May you acquire a serene and grateful heart and keep it. May you know the wisdom of living well and keep it. thank God. But there is more. But there is more. As you do. have faith in God.May you find joy in your life and keep it. But there is more. As you do. When you do. live for God. May you gain a clear sense of God‟s presence in your life and keep it. worship God. But there is more. sing to God. May you find a place with the people of God and keep it.
and members of his professional associations. Martin.. along with holding offices in professional associations. and meaningful understanding of spirituality. and several others. He has written widely. Martin has maintained his early commitment to the effective delivery of professional mental health services. Dr. and a volunteer in mental health and medical agencies. has been in professional service as a: professor. and Vanderbilt University. Oklahoma Baptist University. In addition. He is a frequent presenter at professional meetings. mental health counselor. including Coping with Cancer. he also completed studies at the University of Missouri. he has demonstrated his long commitment to understanding and articulating a sensible. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 184 Hospice Mementos: A Salutation to Dawn . Vocational Guidance. with several books. Prayers from Where You Are. academic administrator. University of Louisville. Coping with Personal Crises. With degrees from Hannibal LaGrange College. Ph. his colleagues.About the Author Francis A. but also on the professional development of his students. health care administrator. realistic. Prayers for Recovery. He has concentrated on his own professional development.D.
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