Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saying Good-Bye to Loved Ones

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today is Tuesday, April 25 2017, in my corner of blog land. It has been a rather sobering month for my immediate family, as my 92-year-old father has been in and out of the hospital in another US state. He had cardiac issues which turned out to be gastrointestinal in nature. Presently, he is home, but talking with him on the phone, one can tell the stress is taking its toll even though he is strong and has a strong faith in G-d. Now his focus is learning how to "hang in there." What does that mean to any of us?

I am going to take a segue from our Jewish Heritage discussion, and return to the Mayo Clinic HouseCall newsletter of this week. There is an excellent article about caring for a loved one who is approaching the end of life. I cannot highlight all the tips given here. I'll give the starters though.

Our role, not easy, is to provide comfort and relief. Hopefully, some discussion has occurred to plan for that.
- Is care going to be at home by family, friends, or an agency or hospice?
- If inpatient care is chosen, will a holistic approach be considered? This provides symptom and pain relief, some spiritual/psychological care, focus on symptom control if supports are not to be used. This would be like respirators, ventilators, dialysis, etc.

Saying Good-bye
"You can help your loved one communicate their final wishes to family and friends. Encourage him or her to share their feelings, thanks or forgiveness, and give others a chance to say good-bye. This may stimulate discussion about important, unsaid thoughts, which can be meaningful for everyone."

The article suggests having the loved one leave a legacy albeit some letters, recording, or communication that conveys who they are and what is important to them that others recall. My mom before her passing, urged us to think of her when looking at the stars in the night sky. Her name was Stella, which means star.

Again, these are some things we can do to make the end of life for our loved ones a bit more graceful for them and perhaps for us too. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

I sent my dad an email this week. On the phone, I told him the email contains the current book I am working on, Waiting for Messiah, and it is the draft form. I don't know how much time he has left, but wanted him to have something of me in his life. If he reads any of it or not, that is strictly up to him. Right now, when we talk, my goal is to have each conversation be respectful and treat him with dignity. Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you. Very, very true!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

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