Sometimes I feel really sorry for my family. They are the unfortunate souls who have to listen to my bellyaching on any given day.
Based on my years treating patients who have dealt with the loss of a loved one and my personal experience with my husband's death, I know there are many complicated emotions that one can experience when dealing with late-stage illness and death.
This Mother's Day has given me a new perspective on the stages of life, the inner strength that can be called upon even in the toughest of times, and most importantly, the enduring power of love.
It seems as if witnessing aggressive, life-prolonging care actually makes people more likely to want it for themselves -- even with all its miseries and ultimate failure -- than they would if they hadn't witnessed it. That's a puzzle. What might be going on?
Just as with any other grieving process, like the five stages identified by Kubler-Ross, the progression of infertility emotions has stages as well.
Memories are like gold nuggets, nuggets with sharp edges that eventually wear smooth. During the first year or two of grief, memories may be painful, only highlighting the loved one's absence. However, over time, a shift begins to occur.
When violence strikes, God wants to comfort us and help us heal. I believe that God wants us to help each other heal.
In the aftermath, it is important to remember that our grief is as unique as our fingerprints. Each of us will have our own normal reactions to the abnormal events that we have just witnessed.
I still go to sleep wondering whether more bombs will appear in the city, whether my family will be okay, whether the sounds of sirens and the choppers of helicopters will bring memories of unease. I know I'm not alone.
If we as a country believe that people have personal autonomy over their own bodies, we should also recognize that it is everyone's independent choice as to when their life should end.
The thing about transitions is, sometimes it's helpful to revisit the past in order to see how much you've grown. Recently, I thought about my father's passing -- and a beautiful pen that was dear to him. It reminded me that some endings are actually beginnings in disguise.
Most people in the world are afraid of dying, which is not exactly what you would call an irrational fear. However, many people are so afraid of dying that they do not even want to discuss death, which, uncomfortable as this discussion may be, is downright irresponsible.
The Natural Death Handbook is a volume that speaks with simple clarity and grace about the best practices for sitting with the dying, washing and cooling a loved one after passing, and preparing the body for a natural funeral.
I had been told by a few friends who had been down this path, that to have your parent die in your arms was an amazing experience. One described it as "radiant." I admit I was skeptical, yet in the last hours of her life I didn't want to leave her side.
Since the recent release of my wife Susan Spencer-Wendel's memoir, Until I Say Good-Bye, people often say to me, "Your wife is such an inspiration." Or: "This woman changed my outlook on life."
Grieving and healing from any twin loss must begin with a search for an individual identity in order for the twinless one to feel safe enough to acknowledge and integrate the experience of the death of their twin and the severance of the twin bond.
It is clear that I must now make a new home for myself within my own heart. There I must create a door that is always open, a light that burns eternally, a spark that cherishes my name, and a blessing of continual self-forgiveness.
I can't say that my father was ready for death or that any of us was ready for him to go. But I believe that thanks to hospice care, and some miracle of timing and life force and will that I will never quite understand, my dad's death was as beautiful as a death can be.
What do Rasputin's penis, Shelley's heart and Einstein's brain have in common? They were all taken from their bodies after death and went on adventures of their own.
I didn't choose to cultivate equanimity. It chose me. My experience has taught me that nothing is permanent. Change is inevitable; sometimes it brings pleasure, sometimes pain. While you can't avoid pain, you can choose to suffer less.