Before my father passed in 2008, I was fortunate enough to spend almost every day with him during his final summer. We went on dozens of long drives through the countryside, comparing faraway cornfields to the ones close to his farm, and tracking down old tractors.
Let's not rely so heavily on the earth-shattering events to awaken us from the mechanical slumber that can sometimes pervasively control our lives. Let's all remember to live in this moment and celebrate life because while my father is right that we are all dying, at least for today, we are all living too.
I grew up believing that I was a replacement child, for I was given life after another child lost his: a brother my family loved and missed, and whose absence cast an obvious shadow over my grieving mother's heart.
I didn't feel it creeping up on me, but I was starting to notice that I couldn't focus and it causing me to miss deadlines back in January. I was g...
The editors of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End-of- Life Care want to make one thing very clear: this book is not about dying, it's about life and what it can teach us, it's about caring and what giving care really means.
When I announced to my wife that I was writing a book about planning for the inevitable, she replied, "Why not a love story, or a book on travel. This is gruesome." She went on to say that she would never buy such a book.
On Mother's Day this year, I was counting my blessings. I had the world's greatest mom -- she was the most generous spirit I know. But we didn't always make it easy on her.
I've learned that love and time really do heal -- that's not just corny sentiment. Our hearts are incredibly resilient and it is human nature to find a way to get back up and keep moving forward.
Saying goodbye to a dying relative or friend -- what to talk about, when, and how -- doesn't come naturally to most adults. The irony: All these conversations ask of us, ultimately, is what people appreciate hearing at any time of life: words of candor, reassurance and love.
We can be mad as hell and choose to use that energy to tackle a challenge or an obstacle that we never thought we could achieve. We could be stressed with financial strain and decide to perform 5 random acts of kindness for strangers. We can take our anxiety and channel it by playing on a playground with a kid in our lives. We can sing at the top of our lungs.
It's difficult to know how this will play out, but it's almost certainly going to affect the way future generations -- and probably current generations -- view their lives and role in history. It will still be the case 500 years hence that almost all of the people who ever lived are dead, but it will probably not be the case that almost all of them are forgotten.
Life-changing events like deciding to marry, becoming a parent, and finding a career are all by choice. Becoming a widow is not by choice. It is thrust upon you. The word widow brings to mind an old crone, dressed in a long black shapeless dress, shrouded in a black veil, wearing sensible shoes.
I work as a counselor in Hospice. This is a quick request of you guys out there who have mothers who are either under Hospice care, or in a nursing home.
"I want to get it done, I just don't seem to get 'round to it." So said a client who told me that her last will and testament, which needed updating, had been sitting in her inbox for four years.
Jesus' death reminds us that, while death is dreadful and a real ground for fear, there are worse things than death. Turning away from a life of meaning, mission and vision, or seeking to prolong life with so much zeal that the life one lives becomes a torment, would all be examples of that.
Jane took living -- and dying -- seriously, and with humor. Her husband said, "She had a whole file on dying..." Two weeks before she took her last breath, Jane insisted that I read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande so I would know how she wanted to go.
Long ago I adjusted to life without a mother. For most of the last 30 years, the majority of my friends' mothers were living and most still are. Being motherless set me apart, especially in my twenties and thirties. I occasionally have met individuals who also lost their mothers in early adulthood.
One decision can change the entire course of your life and in turn all the lives around you. Time is relentless. It will stampede over you if you stand still. We were born 10 months apart; now I am a whole 10 years older.
Unless we're unfortunate enough to be the first in our crowd to go, someday we all take the sad trip I recently made to say so long to a childhood pal.
All we can do is openly and honestly talk our children and model for them good behavior, positive thoughts, and authentic feelings. We will grow and learn together. And, if we can arm them with all of the right information, they might just be able to teach their own kids a thing or two one day.