Last week I saw the Oscar-nominated movie, The Descendents. I hope it wins because more people will go to see it. It is a realistic and understanding portrayal of what a family goes through during and after the death of a family member. The thing I love about it is that it captures the normalcy of death, rather than the Hollywood-style drama and horror we have come to expect.
YOUR CAN RUN, BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE
In the United States we have buffered ourselves from acknowledging… More
In his January 16, 2012, TIME article, Over My Dead Body, Joel Stein shares his various and unrelated thoughts about funerals, which got me meditating on my own ideas about funerals. In my end-of-life planning my funeral is literally an afterthought (joke). It is profoundly important to some.
The first time I gave any thought at all to my own funeral was on a hiking trip in the Adirondacks in my twenties. My companions (fellow classical musicians) and I stopped… More
This Thanksgiving marks the third anniversary of extreme ups and downs. I have so much to be thankful for.
11/11/08: Return from a wonderful 9-day hiking and camping trip in Big Bend National Park.
11/18/08: Break my right ankle and 5th metatarsal by slipping on stairs.
11/18/08 – 2/14/09: Discover that my boyfriend will stand by me through thick and thin–without whining.
2/14/09: David proposes with traditional, gorgeous ring and bended knee. … More
THE FELINE ALARM CLOCK
Each morning, just as I am finally pulling myself out of bed, my aloof Maine Coon cat, Jack, jumps on the bed to snuggle. Since I can’t resist, it is usually 15 or 20 minutes later when I finally get on my feet. (I can never get him to jump on my lap when I call him. It is always on his terms.)
I always start the day happy when Jack is my alarm clock. I can’t help laughing at his catness, which immediately releases any anxiety I am feeling about… More
I hope that if I experience hospice for myself, that my caregivers bring in furry friends. The older I get, the more I cherish the unconditional and generous love of animals. They make my world richer today. I hope they are near to say goodbye when I leave this earth. This lovely video captures the kindness of therapy animals. These magical souls must know they are helping.… More
Hospice care is a philosophy. It is not a place. Care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, clergy, social workers, volunteers, and therapists, and it is covered by Medicare. Hospice provides comfort and support to anyone facing a terminal illness. The patient and his or her family are treated as a unit. After the death of a patient, hospice care may continue on for the family for a while. A physician’s referral is required for admission to… More
Preparing essential documents is an adult responsibility that should begin well before old age. Most people think it is something they should get around to “before I die”. Let’s be realistic. None of us know just when we will get there.
Most people cannot bring themselves to get their documents organized. This is understandable since it will take time, may require research, and can cost money. The most common reason is simple (or complex) denial. … More
“Rest in Peace” is a phrase often seen or heard when someone admired or loved has passed on. Frontier settlers would carve R.I.P. into a flat stone that would serve as a short epitaph on a grave marker before continuing their journey across the plains, or at least that’s what they do in movies.
“REST IN PEACE” (Catholic Church)
But what is the origin of this phrase, and why is it so commonly used? As with much of our culture, the answer to this question… More
It is the time of the year when I review all my financial accounts. I estimate last year’s income and expenses so that I know what to expect when I do my taxes. As I started this annoying annual process a few days ago, I was surprised at the emotional impact of doing Mom’s tax preparation. I had forgotten how much time and attention I paid to Mom’s finances and bookkeeping–and how absorbed I was in her care.
As I went through her check book, credit card bills,… More