Afterwards, we are hit more and more with the realization that our loved one is gone. In counseling many families, almost always they'd comment, "You can never really prepare for something like this." It is, indeed, an empty feeling, an empty place. In some cases, it takes much time for surviving family members to recover, which is why I argue against any time frame of 'recovery.' Grieving is unique for each person, and how one goes about restoring healing and sanity is up to the individual.
I was fortunate to work with courageous men and women facing that final hour and with family members. Many questions do surface. Surprises are plenty. And if not careful, we can resort to unhealthy patterns that inhibit a desired outcome. It happens to the best of us! Spiritual Care to Elderly and Dying Loved onesis a book sensitive to cultural diversity and honoring of all faith traditions. It comes in the form of stories that supply practical insight for all who are being impacted by end of life.
In the beginning, one is told of a terminal illness. I've heard of many reactions. Anywhere from shock to "I knew something was wrong." Then comes the family. Most often things are complex due to age, physical proximity, and current circumstances. Last but not least, partners go through their own set of horrific questions while trying to "be strong." The emotional and mental turmoil is thick, indeed, and the barrage of expectations placed on them by culture, family, and themselves don't help.
My fifteen years of hospice service included facilitating discussions that family members found tremendously hard to initiate: What does the patient want? Who is really pulling for more treatment and why? Who is protecting who and how? Hard to be objective if you're a family member. Plus, these questions carry tons of emotional energy. As a third-party and consultant, Body Mind Metaphor can help untangle these and other sensitive topics in a way that will promote healing to all. And Body Mind Metaphor will be happy to go to your home.
Many things go on during the middle phase. Anything from having conflicting feelings, a roller-coaster experience of anxiety, and lots of reflecting. Plus, there are many things to discuss with the tribe. All of this takes time and it is a good thing to have someone who can help unravel these thoughts that undoubtedly have much emotional energy behind them.
The time does eventually come when our loved ones begin to transition. Sometimes they are incoherent. Other times they look like their struggling. Still other times, they can make sense of their experiences. We, on the other hand, wrestle, watching and waiting for the moment. And in our vulnerability a lot of emotions come out. Some withdraw; others lash out; still others become demanding. Believe it or not, some become aggressive and threatening. Fortunately, not all!
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