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Death Amp Dying

Dying, But Still Teaching: The Easter Vigil

Rev. Peg Nowling Williams | Posted 06.01.2013 | Religion
Rev. Peg Nowling Williams

My mother is in her last days of life. Dialysis has ended. We wait for the inevitable. On this holiest of weekends, we wait. We sit vigil, waiting for her to die, waiting for Jesus to become Christ, waiting for the women to find an empty tomb, waiting to give my mother to her eternal rest.

The Cosmic Easter Bunny's Biggest Trick

Steve McSwain | Posted 05.28.2013 | Religion
Steve McSwain

Easter's greatest trick is not that a body was resuscitated. Heck, any old medicine man can perform that trick, and they do in hospitals every day around the world. No, the trick at Easter is that this Jesus was so special that, even after all these years, we still remember him.

Dedicated to a Cause

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.27.2013 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Last Wednesday, March 20, the Connecticut Assembly's Public Health Committee began its consideration of a bill modeled after Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. My heart swelled as I sat with them and heard the witness of these decent, altruistic, dedicated people.

A Farewell Letter, Unread

Tamar Abrams | Posted 05.26.2013 | Parents
Tamar Abrams

One day in September 2000, I sat down and penned a letter to my then-7-year-old daughter. When I was finished filling two pages of lined paper, I sealed them in an envelope upon which I wrote, "For Hannah -- to be opened only in the event of my death."

About Death, II

Roger S. Gottlieb | Posted 05.22.2013 | Healthy Living
Roger S. Gottlieb

Scared of death? Sure I am, I'm no hero and I'll probably fight against the dying of the light like anyone else. But ultimately, if I have an ultimately, I'm just damn glad I got to be here. And damn grateful to everyone (and I mean that in absolutely the widest sense) who made it possible.

Defending Against Loss

Tara Brach | Posted 05.22.2013 | Healthy Living
Tara Brach

By opening to his own grief instead of armoring himself with anger, Justin was finally able to start the healing process. His grief had never gone away; it had just been hidden. Once he was willing to open to it and feel it, his own sorrow could show him the way home to peace.

Dying But Still Teaching: Lessons I'm Learning From My Mother

Rev. Peg Nowling Williams | Posted 05.20.2013 | Religion
Rev. Peg Nowling Williams

Even in her decline, she is still teaching us lessons about life. She has been told she can stop dialysis at any time and end this roller coaster we are on, but Mom isn't ready for that. She has more to experience and to share with us.

Does Everyone's Life Have Meaning?

John Backman | Posted 05.20.2013 | Religion
John Backman

Something deep within us wants our lives to matter. We find meaning and purpose in a myriad of ways, and this "meaning making" works for us -- most of the time. Lately, though, I've been thinking about a more difficult case: people whose lives seem to make no sense whatever.

Thank You, Valerie Harper

Jennifer Rosen | Posted 05.18.2013 | Healthy Living
Jennifer Rosen

In the past, my tendency had been to seek external guidance when making pivotal decisions. But watching Valerie at work must have activated my inner resolve because, for the first time, I felt absolutely no need to reach outside myself for answers.

Lights Go On

Thomas Bähler | Posted 05.18.2013 | New York
Thomas Bähler

When dad reached his 70s, he was diagnosed with Emphysema, now called COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. No matter what they called it and no matter what the symptoms, dad's years were being cut short because he smoked.

Amour, Death, Song

Roger S. Gottlieb | Posted 05.15.2013 | Healthy Living
Roger S. Gottlieb

What makes aging and death tolerable? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps we must all, as Dylan Thomas put it, "rage against the dying of the light." And really there is nothing wrong with such a response.

Winter's End

Cara Dixon | Posted 03.14.2013 | Religion
Cara Dixon

Though the wind blows and the clouds loom, we must trust that the sun is not gone and that seasons will change soon, that the new life hidden from our view will soon burst forth, that the radiance of spring will beckon us to focus on Life and that which we know to be true.

Turning Chaos Into Opportunity; Facing Adversity, Problems and Flaws

Rob Kall | Posted 05.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Rob Kall

Adversity can be both awful and wonderful. Soldiers regale each other with tales of heroism and courage in the face of adversity. Adversity shapes us slowly but steadily just as water carves out canyons and wears down mountains.

Do You Have a Duty to Perform CPR?

Janice Van Dyck | Posted 05.07.2013 | Healthy Living
Janice Van Dyck

I think we all have a right to die the way we want. My biggest concern is whether many of our life-saving techniques just prolong a life of suffering. I have seen the agony that many times accompanies our heroic efforts to stem the force of Mother Nature.

Intense Treatment in the Last Month of Life Is Rising

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.05.2013 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

This latest study reveals not only abject failure, but lost ground as well. It's up to the people -- those approaching the end of life and those who love them -- to prevent medical habit from stealing a peaceful death.

Meditation And Mourning: 3 Obstacles To Successful Grieving

Lodro Rinzler | Posted 05.04.2013 | Religion
Lodro Rinzler

For anyone who has suffered a loss, you know that no amount of nice words can heal the sense of grief you experience every day. As I began to grieve, I noticed something very familiar arise in how I related to this process: My grieving patterns mimicked patterns often perceived as obstacles to meditation.

What Got Me To Live Life To The Fullest

Tory Zellick | Posted 05.02.2013 | Fifty
Tory Zellick

Critical Care encourages us to consider what brings us the most joy, then go out there and grab it: Make the career change, ask the cutie out, write the book or go on the impulsive trip.

Erasing Death

Sam Parnia, M.D., Ph.D | Posted 02.26.2013 | Science
Sam Parnia, M.D., Ph.D

What happens when we die? The once-held philosophical idea that there is no way back after death is not accurate and that there is a significant period of time after death in which death is fully reversible. The goalposts have moved, and we don't know where the science will take us.

What Kind Of Relationship Do You Have With God?

Judith Johnson | Posted 04.27.2013 | Religion
Judith Johnson

The questions of God's existence or nature and the spiritual dimension of life are the most profound inquiries we can explore. It is an adventure of the heart, body, mind and soul in a maze filled with shortcuts and dead ends.

Let’s Bring Back Mourning Clothes

Jana Riess | Posted 04.27.2013 | Religion
Jana Riess

In America today, we wear black to the funeral (and sometimes not even then, alas) and then are expected to dress as if nothing has happened, as if our world has not just shattered to pieces.

Hollywood's Take On Grief

Fredda Wasserman | Posted 04.25.2013 | Healthy Living
Fredda Wasserman

From Les Miserables to Silver Linings Playbook to Flight, death and grief are major themes in this year's Oscar nominated films. The film makers and writers must be applauded for daring to expose viewers to such intimate portrayals of the grief process.

Where Is God In The Book Of Esther?

Brandon Ambrosino | Posted 04.25.2013 | Religion
Brandon Ambrosino

One of the most beautiful books of the Bible, Esther is the only one that doesn't specifically refer to God. Esther's story defies moralizing, but perhaps one of its lessons is that God's hiddenness is not God's absence. Even in the face of death.

Dadmissions: My Mother's Final Stand

Pete Wilgoren | Posted 04.10.2013 | Healthy Living
Pete Wilgoren

The plot next to my father still sits empty. And the double gravestone on top, which you often see for spouses, sits empty too. That is my mother's final stand. It's a reminder that it is never too late to make a change. It's never too late to get out of an abusive relationship.

Hospice: End-of-Life Conversations When the End Is in Sight

Jeanne Dennis | Posted 04.09.2013 | Healthy Living
Jeanne Dennis

In this post, I'd like to explore the necessity, challenges and goals of having end-of-life conversations once the diagnosis of a life-limiting condition is confirmed.

Ending the Life of a Pet

Mary Crescenzo | Posted 04.01.2013 | Healthy Living
Mary Crescenzo

This afternoon, my dog will leave this world in my arms without pain, with my lipstick kiss on her mature Maltese mane. Tonight, when it is late and dark and time to sleep, I will feel her presence beside me.