|Grief & Loss Information|
Terminal Illness- Death and Grief
No one likes to think about illness and death, when we are well, we feel invincible and there is nothing that can prepare us for the shock and devastation of a terminal diagnosis. The knowledge that we can no longer take our lives or the lives we share with our loved ones for granted takes away our ability to plan for the future and removes hope from our lives. When a loved one becomes terminally ill, we grieve in anticipation of their death, we grieve for the loss of them in our lives and we grieve for our own mortality.
No one is immune to grief. There are those amongst us today, who have grieved deeply in the past, there are those who are grieving deeply now and sadly, all of us will grieve at some time in the future. It is inevitable that if we love deeply, we will also grieve deeply, but few of us would deny ourselves the gift of love to our lives. So, grief becomes a part of our lives that we must learn to deal with. There are well documented stages to the grieving process, yet no two people's journey will be the same.
My journey began in Dec 1999.when my husband and partner of 37 years was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. His terminal diagnosis was delivered in a some what brutal manner by a young doctor who concluded his statement by saying "three to nine months I reckon." Upon hearing those words - I felt as if Brian and I had been shot. Certainly Brian was mortally wounded and I who loved him completely felt as if I too had received a death sentence.
My initial shock over his diagnosis was followed by anger and denial. I refused to believe that there was nothing I could do to save his life and begun surfing the internet for any information I could find regarding his disease, hoping to find someone, somewhere who had found a cure. I was looking for a miracle and found none, however the knowledge I acquired helped me to accept that my husband was dying. This did not make it easier to bear, living in expectation of a loved ones death, is like sitting on a time bomb. Knowing that it is going to go off but being powerless to stop it.
My turmoil was made worse by the reaction of our friends, who upon hearing of Brian's diagnosis were shocked and not knowing what to do or say, avoided us. Some even crossing the street when they saw us coming. At our local club instead of the enthusiastic welcome we were accustomed to, we were greeted with silence or exaggerated attempts at joviality. It was as if we had lost our identity, they no longer saw us as Brian and Lorraine, we had become the objects of pity, a sad reminder of the fragility of life.
Brian's prognosis of three to nine months was ever on our minds and this had a catastrophic affect on all of our lives. We dared not plan for anything fearing that Brian would not be with us to enjoy it. Our eldest daughter - wanting her father to be present at her wedding, planned it for June, six months after his diagnosis. We found it hard to find joy in the preparations as we greatly feared that he would not be alive to share it with us. Birthdays and Christmases brought the same anguish.
With no idea of what to expect, I feared that he might die at any time and due to this, I saw any symptom he displayed as a sign of his imminent death. I was reluctant to let him out of my sight for fear that he would not return to me. I wondered how he would die. Would he have a heart attack, a haemorrhaged, or suddenly be unable to breath. Would he be in much pain? The relief I felt for each month of life he was granted was overshadowed by my dread of the beginning of each new month because the beginning of each month brought us closer to the 9 months maximum of his prognosis.
For the first time in our long relationship, I could not turn to Brian for strength. I recognised and supported his need to live in hope whilst at the same time I was struggling with my hopelessness. I could not burden the children with my grief; they had not fully accepted that their father's prognosis and it hurt them if I mentioned his condition. It was hard to remain strong for all of them and to act as if everything was okay - when nothing was okay. There were days when I told everyone I met - that my husband was dying. Seeing the sympathy and compassion on their faces justified the depth of my despair.
My emotional turmoil soon affected my health, I ached with tension, begun to have trouble catching my breath, groaned involuntarily and felt as if I too were dying. I was fortunate in that my doctor did not prescribe anti depressants for me to help me cope with my anticipatory grief. Instead he advised that I see a councilor on a regular basis and that I begin writing in a personal diary. His advice was sound. The diary I begun on that day - became my strongest coping tool - I wrote in it daily, often in the form of poetry - pouring my heartache and fear onto the pages. I wrote the poem Loving You - shortly after his diagnosis - the words Lean on me - Later became the title of my book.
In sickness and in health - until death us do part. No wedding vows could be truer.
Brian's illness and death has profoundly impacted on my life. His courage and the strength I found to support him as he journeyed to the end of his life - has shown me the true meaning of love and the strength of the human spirit.
Article written by: Lorraine Kember - Author of "Lean on Me" Cancer through a Carer's Eyes. Lorraine's book is written from her experience of caring for her dying husband in the hope of helping others. It includes insight and discussion on: Anticipatory Grief, Understanding and identifying pain, Pain Management and Symptom Control, Chemotherapy, Palliative Care, Quality of Life and Dying at home. It also features excerpts and poems from her personal diary. Highly recommended by the Cancer Council. "Lean on Me" is not available in bookstores - For detailed information, Doctor's recommendations, Reviews, Book Excerpts and Ordering Facility - visit her website http://www.cancerthroughacarerseyes.jkwh.com
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Health Net Provides Assistance to Woolsey Fire Evacuees in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties - Associated Press (press release)
A Boy and His Dog: Finding Strengths and the Capacity To Love Through Grief and Loss - The Good Men Project
An evening of riveting stories: Join us Nov. 30 for 'Stories of Tragedy, Triumph and Transformation' - Tallahassee.com
In Liberia, Survivors of Ebola and Civil War Now Struggle With Mental Illness - Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Afraid Of Dying? Afraid Of Living!
Over the years, I've heard many people voice their concerns of death and dying. It wasn't that they had any maladies that would cause them to die any time soon, but they were "afraid of their own immortality.
Whens Sarah Coming Home? Helping Your Child Understand Death
For most children, their first experience with grief comes with the death of a beloved family pet. When Zoe the eight-week old puppy dies of parvovirus or Tweety the budgie stops singing his morning song, a child experiences profound and lasting loss for the first time in their young lives.
Then and Now
Over one hundred years ago, during the Victorian era, death and grief were popular subjects for poems, songs and stories. Grieving was considered a natural and acceptable part of the culture.
Dealing With Tragedies (The 9/11 Tragedy)
September 11, 2001, marked yet another significant turning point in world history. Whatever innocence was left in the world was lost on that fateful day.
And You Always Will
I opened the dishtowel drawer for about the sixth time, hoping the towels had somehow magically appeared.The brand new towels still weren't there, of course.
Adapting to the Loss of a Loved One: Three Tips on how to Cope
Have you ever sat down and played a piano where one of the keys wasn't working? Or made cookies and left out an ingredient? Perhaps you've started listening to a favorite CD, and just when it gets to your favorite part of your favorite song, you realize that there is a scratch in it.In some ways, losing a loved one is similar.
Understanding Grief and Loss in Times of War and Disaster
There are many different kinds of losses we can experience in our lives. Indeed, loss in human beings has its beginnings in the birth process that separates the infant from the comfort and security of the mother's womb into a world where survival is conditional and predicated on individual responsibility.
How to Deal with Suicide and Euthenasia
The following is a report that indicates how you might recognize suicidals, and how you might deal with them. But a warning: Suicide can be a very complex issue, and it might be better to have a professional deal with this issue if it comes up, but if this is very difficult to attain, this guide is a very good alternative to follow if you have no other solution to the problem.
You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)
I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.That sounds terrible, I know.
You Can Help A Grieving Heart
Oh, we can talk about the best cold medications and if cherry cough syrup tastes better to kids than orange. We can recommend preschools and sneakers.
The loss of a loved one. It is often difficult to find the right words to express your sympathy to someone during this time of sorrow.
How My Four Your Old Son Reacted To The Death Of His Great Nanny Biscuits
My nan was called Margaret and lived until the age of eighty eight. Unfortunately she died in hospital and this article describes how my son reacted to the news of her death.
New Tears [about Grievng--with commentary]
New Tears [about Grieving]If it rains or shinesLittle does it matter so? Days, like tear drops-Slip and slide, and go.I sit looking out my windowLittle do I want to say-? Goodbye and close my brain;Not forever, anyway!.
What is an Appropriate Sympathy Gift?
When a friend or loved one is grieving, it is hard to know what to say or how to show your support. When you want to provide comfort and support and show your concern for a family member, a friend, or an associate, a personalized gift is always an ideal choice.
The Look of Grief
Never, since man has walked upright, have people all over the globe had more educational advantages or more opportunities to practice advanced social and interpersonal skills. And yet, for the most part, we still have not learned to look past the obvious, to see beyond the exterior shell of our fellow man, and to discover the worth of the real person.
Pope John Paul II
WHAT I LEARNED FROM POPE JOHN PAUL II ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I am not a Catholic, but I felt a deep loss when Pope John Paul II took ill and then died. That's what happens to us with public people--we connect with them even if we didn't know them.
Suicide - An Eternal Pain
Suicide is the one form of death that has quite a stigma attached to it. It brings with it a feeling of shame and betrayal.
Trial by Fire - 9 Tips for Grieving Couples
You will often hear that grief and loss bring couples together, but it can actually do just the opposite. It is possible to emerge on the other side of grief with a closer marriage, but it does take work.
Lessons We Learned From Terri Schiavo
Let's talk about Terry Schiavo, since her death illustrated for me many aspects of grief and hope. Who among us was not moved by the drama of her last days? I know I was.
An Unexpected Letter
It was a couple of weeks after Christmas, and I was standing by my mailbox in the vestibule of the apartment building where I lived in Lexington, Kentucky, holding a letter I had just received. The handwriting was not familiar and neither was the return address, although it was postmarked Seattle, Washington, the same place where Hannah Paulson used to live.
|home | site map|