GENERAL DISCUSSION FOR THE FIVE INVITATIONS: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. FRANK OSTASESKI
*Taken from the The Five Invitations Discussion Guide
"Here is a quick discussion guide to encourage meaningful conversations about The Five Invitations in your family, book group, healthcare team or spiritual community. We suggest exploring one invitation per week".
1 ) DON'T WAIT
Frank writes, "Instead of pinning our hopes on a better future, we focus on the present and being grateful for what we have in front of us right now.
2 ) WELCOME EVERYTHING, PUSH AWAY NOTHING
Frank writes, "When we are open and receptive, we have options. We are free to discover, to investigate, and to learn how to respond skillfully to anything we encounter".
3 )BRING YOUR WHOLE SELF TO THE EXPERIENCE
Frank writes, "We all like to look good. We long to be seen as capable, strong, intelligent, sensitive, spiritual, or at least well adjusted. We project a positive self-image. Few of us want to be known for our helplessness, fear, anger, or ignorance, or that sometimes we are more of a mess than we'd like to admit. To be whole, we need to include, accept, and connect lal parts of ourselves. Wholeness does not mean perfection. tI means no part left out".
4 )FIND A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS
Frank writes, "We often think of rest AS something that will come to us when everything else in our lives is complete: At the end of the day, when we take a bath; once we go on holiday or get through all our to-do lists. We imagine that we can only find rest by changing our circumstances. This place of rest is always available to us. It is a choice a—choice to be alert, to bring your attention to this moment."
5 ) CULTIVATE DON'T KNOW MIND
Frank writes, "Cultivate don't know mind may seem confusing at first. Why should we seek to be ignorant? Don't know mind is one characterized by curiosity, surprise, and wonder. It is receptive, ready to meet whatever shows up as it is. Don't know mind is an invitation to enter life with fresh eyes, to empty our minds and open our hearts."
Click the button below to read the full book club discussion
These passages are taken directly from the article "The Wisdom of Meditating on Mortality". Here are a few excerpts that I think are valuable. To read the full article, please click on button below.
We die every day, for every day some part of life is taken from us. Even when we are still growing, our life is shrinking. We lost our infancy, then childhood, then youth. All our time was lost in the moment of passage, right up to yesterday, and even today is divided with death as it goes by. As the water clock does not empty out its last drop only but also whatever dripped through it before, our last hour of existence is not the only time we die but just the only time we finish dying. That is when we arrive at death, but we have been a long time coming there.
The practice of remembering your death or memento mori is an aspect of what the Stoics called the premeditation of adversity. You contemplate negative things that could happen to you in advance, just for a moment. Doing so removes the sting of them should they actually happen. And one of the benefits of doing this is realizing how many things in life we actually take for granted.
Time (and Death)
In the letter titled today as Taking charge of your time, Seneca asked, “Can you show me even one person who sets a price on his time, who knows the worth of a day, who realizes that every day is a day when he is dying?
We are wrong to think that death lies ahead: much of it has passed us by already, for all our past life is in the grip of death. — Seneca
I know I sound like a broken record, but it's true.....we are a death denying society. This denial causes a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering through the end-of-life (EOL).
However, we can take the opportunity to bring EOL conversations into our lives, we can gain wisdom by truly focusing on what is important, how we treat people, repairing regret, and spending time with those we love and want to connect with.
When we bring death into the forefront of our lives, we behave differently, perhaps with more equanimity, because our focus is on the here and now, not the past nor the future, and embracing the present time.
People that are on their deathbed often share they have regrets- they want a do over to make things right, or they realize whom have been the important people in their lives and want to share with them how they feel.
Let's not wait until we are terminally ill or on our deathbed to change our behaviors. Let's take the opportunity to focus on this day, as if it were our last, and I can almost guarantee, you will act with grateful heart and act on what really is meaningful to you.
Death is hard and talking about death can be even more difficult.
This is the problem....death will happen, to each of us, most often we just don't know when or how.
If death is guaranteed, why don't we speak about it? First, our society has made death, dying, and grief taboo topics.
Why? I think because we are not familiar with it. We're, for the most part, a death phobic society.
Does this hurt us? Yes. We prepare for major life events by taking the time to investigate and to get familiar with options and to talk about what may be best for the future.
Let's do the same with death. Let's be proactive and become willing to have these difficult, yet necessary conversations. Let's empower ourselves and our journey. Let's be willing to not be too polite to speak about death, and to create communities where we can learn and become more comfortable to the absolute, 100% guaranteed life event that we will all experience.
In this article, Psychologist, Corinne Sweet, states "People find death a difficult topic to discuss as it usually brings up a lot of feelings: anxiety, fear, awkwardness, sadness. We tend to pretend, as a culture, that it's not going to happen"
"After all, the biggest benefit of talking about death is that it reminds us to appreciate life. Corinne says, Reminding ourselves that time is finite can actually help us squeeze the pips out of life. It can make every day, every sunset, every good conversation so much more enriching.”
“As a nation, we need to start embracing these conversations and promote a positive change in how we perceive and talk about this subject. We don’t expect to see change overnight, but it’s time to take action, be brave and talk about death.”
First, everyone over 18 years old, should have an advance directive. Accidents and illnesses come without warnings.
Second, included in the advance directive document is a place to assign a HCP (health care proxy).
A HCP will ensure your medical wishes are honored.....only when you cannot speak for yourself.
Have you thought about what medical preferences align with your values?
If you do not have an advance directive and/or a Health Care Proxy document, then most like the medical system, family input (and possibly the courts) will decide which treatments you will receive.
This article talks about the 5 biggest mistakes that people make in this legal document. They are:
The most important role of a HCP is ensuring you receive the care and treatment you desire (outlined in your advance directive), when you are unable to speak for yourself or you are incapacitated.
Your chosen HCP should be comfortable with honoring your medical preferences, even if they do not align with what they would want.
Here are some important details of what a HCP can do:
What a HCP cannot do:
Assigning a HCP is such an important part of an advance directive.
A HCP will only step in when you are unable to speak for yourself in a medical crisis. Therefore, your proxy must understand your medical wishes, and be willing to follow them, regardless if they differ from their views or preferences.
Here are some pros of asking a family member to be your HCP:
Cons of assigning a family member to be your HCP:
Choosing your HCP (health care proxy) is such an important part of your advance directive, that needs to be filled out before a medical crisis.
If you decide not to assign a HCP, here are a few things that may occur, when you are unable to speak, and make medical decisions, for yourself:
Taking the time to fill out your advance directive, along with assigning your proxy, will bring confidence that if you are in a medical crisis, you will receive the care you wish to have, and not those whom might enforce their values on your medical care.
"If you have not completed a Health Care Proxy, your family may be asked to make decisions based upon what they believe you would want done. If you have no family, or if there is disagreement about what treatment you would want, a court may be asked to appoint a guardian to make those decisions on your behalf".
The proxy, remember you get to assign this person, can only make decisions if you cannot speak for yourself and/or are too sick to make them for yourself.
You get to choose how much medical decision making control your proxy has. However, it is important to give your (HCP) health care proxy/(MPOS) medical power of attorney the ability to have some flexibility, because we cannot possibly think of all the different scenarios that "might" happen.
Each state can vary, so its imperative to do some research for the proxy role, so that you have a better understanding and are more comfortable with whom you choose.
Here are some common responsibilities your proxy may be asked to fulfill:
You may change your healthcare proxy at any time. All you need to do is to fill our a new document reflecting this change. However, please make sure loved ones, doctor, and old proxy, are aware of this change.
A health care proxy (HCP)and a medical power of attorney (MPOA) can be used interchangeably in a document that names a person to make "medical decisions only" for you when you cannot speak.
This person is someone that you trust to follow your medical preferences, regardless if they agree with them. They are your advocate and will speak for you to make sure the medical care you receive, aligns with your wishes in your advance directive.
You do have the power, if you so choose, to have your health care proxy make decisions on your behalf, even if you are not terminally ill or incapacitated.
For the most part, however, a HCP/MPOA normally doesn't have authority to make medical decisions for you until you are incapacitated or unable to communicate.
Trusting your proxy is an important component of this role. Having several conversations to be confident your HCP/MPOA is aware and willing to:
Take the time now, regardless of your health and age, and make sure your advance directive is up to date, and that your health care proxy is aware of all changes in your health, plus has a copy of your advance directive.
Seeking help with an advance directive is valuable for several reasons. Creating and understanding an advance directive can be a complex process, and involving professionals and trusted individuals can ensure that your document accurately reflects your wishes and is legally valid. Here are some key reasons why seeking help with an advance directive is important:
By seeking help with your advance directive, you can ensure that your document accurately represents your wishes, complies with legal requirements, and provides clear guidance to your loved ones and healthcare providers during critical moments.
Understanding the terms used in an advance directive is crucial to ensure that you accurately convey your medical treatment preferences and wishes.
Here are explanations for some key terms commonly found in advance directives:
It's important to clarify any terms you find confusing with legal and medical professionals when creating or reviewing your advance directive. This ensures that you fully understand the implications of the choices you are making and that your directive accurately reflects your wishes.
An advance directive typically includes a range of instructions, preferences, and decisions related to your medical care and treatment in case you become unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself.
The specific components of an advance directive can vary depending on your jurisdiction and personal preferences, but they generally include the following elements:
It's important to note that while these are common components of an advance directive, the specific details and requirements can vary by location and personal circumstances.
It's recommended to consult with legal and medical professionals when creating or updating your advance directive to ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and is legally valid.
Advance directives are also commonly known as:
Updating an advance directive is essential to ensure that your medical treatment preferences and wishes accurately reflect your current values and circumstances. There are several situations and events that might prompt you to review and update your advance directive:
Advance directives are legal documents that allow individuals to express their preferences and wishes regarding medical treatment and care in case they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves. These directives are important for several reasons and offer significant value:
"This study is evidence of what can go wrong when doctors, patients and families fail to have frank and open communication about end-of-life care. It is also, in the clarion call of its conclusion, a first step toward refocusing care on treatments that are more likely to benefit patients".
This study (click button below)shows that "far too often, patients in intensive care, receive what their own doctors judged to be futile care.....because the burdens grossly outweigh benefits, patient will never survive outside an ICU, patient is permanently unconscious, treatment cannot achieve the patient's goals, or death is imminent".
Does this kind of scenario sit well with you?
Is this what you would want?
Whom do you want to make your treatment decisions, when facing end-of-life?
Whom is the best person to make these medical choices?
Read article and then ask yourselves, how you can be in charge of your own medical, emotional and spiritual EOL decisions.
According to this publication in the National Library of Medicine, the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People, have drawn up five priorities for the dying. They five priorities focus on:
Recognizing that someone is dying
Communicating sensitively with them and their family
Involving them in decisions
Supporting them and their family
Creating an individual plan of care that includes adequate nutrition and hydration.
The emphasis of these five priorities is to improve the standard of care and to provide dignified and compassionate care.
According to the National Library of Medicine and this article states that making sure a patient's wishes are respected is crucial and by doing so, it can relieve the dying of unnecessary burdens.
"Most patients want frank information from their physicians about their condition at all times over the course of their treatment, from the moment of diagnosis to the end of their life. This has no lasting adverse effects, but rather enables patients to take decisions that are appropriate to their stage of disease".
"Patients should be enabled to issue directives that reflect their wishes, as well as to choose representatives who are allowed to speak for them. Consideration should also be given to the patient’s emotional legacy, e.g., letters or video messages with personal content".
"In principle, it is always an important matter to make provisions for one’s own death, to consider the various questions associated with it, and to put one’s thoughts in writing".
"Death is not always brought on by a progressive illness that gives the sufferer the time to deal with the subject thoroughly".
"This article provides an overview of the final matters that must be considered in the last phase of an adult patient’s life. These final matters include everything that ensures the patient’s wishes will be respected up to the moment of death and beyond it, as well as everything that can support the patient’s family as they deal with their loss".
"We thought that hope was the best gift we could give to her, and to ourselves. Mainly, we were just terrified to talk about or face the prospect of her dying".
Wow! These words say it all.
People are so terrified to talk about dying, that they bright side terminal illness'.
Death is not a failure or wrong, it's natural and normal process of living.
Let's give life, and death, dying, and grief the dignity they deserve, and start having necessary conversations now, even if young and healthy!
When my mum was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in the spring of 2015, my first instinct was not to sit her down and talk about her end of life wishes.
My first instinct was to scroll one year into the future on my iPhone calendar and type in “Mum Beats Cancer Party.” Despite her diagnosis, my sisters and I decided that intense, relentless hope was our only path forward.
As I write in my book So Sorry For Your Loss, that future calendar date came and went, and no party ever happened. My mum spent nearly four years enduring chemotherapy and fighting with all her might to live, so how could we possibly bring up a conversation about hospice care?
What kind of cold hearted daughters would we be to ask her if she wanted to die at home or in a hospital?
We thought that hope was the best gift we could give to her, and to ourselves. Mainly, we were just terrified to talk about or face the prospect of her dying.
I interviewed palliative care physicians, grief counsellors and a death doula for my book, to get their perspective on these end of life discussions that are so painful to have with someone you love.
One thing that struck me was that so many of them said that it’s easier to have these talks long before a loved one is sick, so that you can have a conversation that’s not weighted down by so much fear and anxiety.
In the United States, where I live, and in the UK, grief and death are not our favorite cocktail party topics, so we tend to avoid them altogether, until we’re forced to confront them.
For us, that confrontation happened when my mum went into the hospital in the fall of 2018. Her colon tore and the physicians told us there was nothing left to do. So there we were, my father and my sisters and myself, facing bureaucracy and paperwork and horrible decisions in the midst of our deepest grief. Not an ideal time to make smart choices.
If we’d had these conversations long before my mum was sick, maybe it would have made those early days of losing her just a tiny bit less wrenching. I’ll never know. What I do know is that while I was writing So Sorry For Your Loss, I told my healthy, young(ish) husband that we needed to sit down and talk about our end of life wishes.
I informed him that I don’t want our son, who is an only child, to feel guilty for putting me into hospice care instead of bringing me home, where my son would likely shoulder the majority of the caretaking.
Having that conversation when someone’s life is actually hanging in the balance would not be as easy as it is now. I don’t love the conversation, but I do believe that it helps to have it early, and to be as clear about your wishes as possible.
It won’t lessen the blow of loss, or make things easy, but it could make them just the smallest bit easier, and when you are in the throes of grief, that is a gift.
A study conducted by The Nuffield Trust and Hospice UK found that in 2020/2021, hospices supported about 300,000 people in the UK. Some people I’ve spoken to said they had positive experiences with hospice care, and the nurses we encountered were kind.
It’s just that caring for someone you love deeply as they die is a pretty traumatic experience. As I was researching my book, I interviewed Liz Hamel, vice president and director of survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation in the US, and she said of at home hospice, “It’s harder than people think it’s going to be, and people are not prepared.”
I would say that for my family, that is an understatement. Hospice, for us, was like being tossed into the running of the bulls while being handed a paper that says ‘YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE – GOOD LUCK AND DON’T SCREW IT UP!’ Only much, much scarier.
Hospice, death and end of life issues are not easy things to talk about, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing them up at every cocktail party you attend.
But bringing them up with loved ones before anyone is sick is something I would highly recommend, though, because it makes the discussion that much less fraught.
I’m sure my husband doesn’t love it when I say, “OK let’s talk about how you want to die!” but in the end, opening up those talks now will hopefully ease a little bit of our grief in the very distant, oh so far away future.
Dina Gachman is an award winning journalist, a Pulitzer Center Grantee, and the author of the new book So Sorry For Your Loss: How I Learned To Live With Grief, and Other Grave Concerns.
There are many ways to help process the emotions of grief. This article is just one more example that there is "no one way to do grief".
The Guardian -
London artist Annie Frost Nicholson is touring her
Fandangoe Discoteca dancefloor to help people process bereavement
This summer brings a new way to deal with grief. It’s not a helpline or a new antidepressant – instead artist Annie Frost Nicholson has created a disco where you can dance away your existential pain.
The Fandangoe Discoteca, a brightly coloured kiosk whose design is inspired by De Stijl and postmodernist architect Ettore Sottsass and which holds up to eight dancers, arrives at London’s Canary Wharf this month before touring the UK and Europe over the summer.
As well as DJ sets, there’ll be meditation and yoga workshops, dance classes and “grief raves” where clubbers can request tracks which remind them of absent or lost loved ones.
A new start after 60: ‘I became a powerlifter at 71 – andI’ve never felt so good about myself’“ It’s a non-traditional way of accessing the complex, universal subject of grief,” says Nicholson. “I like to find a hook to help people access their feelings without being prescriptive.”
Inside the mini disco, which is touring the UK and Europe this summer. Photograph: Joe ClarkThis mini disco is a collaboration between Nicholson and the Loss Project, a social enterprise focused on ways of processing grief. It’s the artist’s latest work looking at ways to deal with grief in various forms – bereavement, climate grief, political grief and mental health issues.
The artist has made uplifting art about tragedy since she lost most of her family in 2011. Her mother, sister and sister’s partner were killed in a helicopter crash while celebrating her sister’s birthday with a sightseeing tour around New York. Her father survived the accident, but he had terminal cancer and died a few years later.
For some time after her loss, Nicholson couldn’t make art at all and worked as a teacher. Then she invented an alter ego that let her explore her grief. As the Fandangoe Kid, she made graphic public art, and in 2021 took an ice-cream van – the Fandangoe Whip – around the UK to serve therapy, workshops and sorbet to the public. When she took it to New York in the summer of 2022, she held the first grief rave and found how much people wanted to dance through their feelings.
“Over the past few years we’ve been listening to public ideas about grief,” says Nicholson. “Post-pandemic, people were desperate to share their experiences and talk – words were falling out of their mouths. Now there’s a real shift to wanting to shake it out.”
Dance is used in death rituals around the world, such as in Māori, Yoruba and Jamaican cultures, but cathartic movement doesn’t feature in traditional British approaches to grief.
“The UK has changed in terms of being more open about grief, but it remains stigmatised,” says Carly Attridge, founder of the Loss Project. “Many people tell me that after a bereavement friends or relatives ignore them because they don’t know what to say, so they avoid the situation, which can be very isolating. Using the arts, podcasts, blogs, dance and even boxing has shown me that there are many faces of grief and also a desire to understand grief in different ways.”
The dancefloor can be a site of solidarity, repair and even healing
Emma Warren, author
Emma Warren, author of the dancefloor history book Dance Your Way Home, had recent experience of death and dancing when a friend died suddenly in his early 30s. “His parents are Jamaican, and after the church service and burial, there was a DJ and dancing. It struck me as really sensible. Taking to the dancefloor after such a long, painful day offered hope.”
She says that dance is undervalued in British culture. “Improvised dance – where you just move to show how you feel – improves divergent thinking and the ability to solve problems. But we generally don’t consider ordinary dancers who aren’t particularly good to be valuable even though the dancefloor can be a site of solidarity, repair and even healing.”
The Fandangoe Discoteca will also be a wake for the Fandangoe Kid. Nicholson has decided this will be the last project using the moniker – which came from a childhood family nickname. From now on, she’ll create art as Annie Frost Nicholson. Frost is her mother’s maiden name. “I introduced the alter ego so I could navigate everything that’s happened in the last 12 years,” says Nicholson. “But I don’t need to hide now. I’m not afraid of the depths any more.”
Openly engaging in EOL (end-of-life) conversations can be daunting. But learning more about the process, and what possible things to say, can be helpful. Read more below.
BY KATE FAVARO - Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley
There are some conversations most people dread having. Whether it’s an excited ten-year-old asking “where do babies come from?”, a heartbreaking “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, or telling a family member “no, I won’t lend you money, again”, there is frequently a sense of unease around these topics. Another commonly avoided conversation, one that people will go to great lengths to avoid, is the plan for when they get seriously ill and die.
Talking about your eventual death, or the death of a loved one, is difficult for many reasons. First, we are a superstitious bunch. What if talking about death makes happen? (We talk about winning the lottery and quitting our jobs but I’ve yet to see that come to fruition for anyone I know personally.) Talking about death and preparing for it does not cause it. Others conclude that it can bring up a lot of questions, maybe reveal some skeletons in the closets, and potentially create tension among family members. Perhaps the biggest reason we avoid this conversation is because we simply don’t know where to start or what to expect.
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley offers the following suggestions:
• Know the “why.” Why does this matter to you? Why does it matter now? Why/how will it help the people you’re talking with prepare for your death? Focusing on the purpose for the conversation can help keep family and friends focused on the bigger picture and the benefit to planning for an illness and death. If the “why” is because you’re facing a serious, life-limiting illness be honest with them and talk about that too.
• Come prepared. Getting an idea of what goes into advanced planning yourself can lower your own anxiety and make the subject easier to talk about. Comprehensive advanced planning will include looking at multiple areas of your life including but not limited to: health care decisions, legal documents, financial information, online presence, funeral and burial plans, and legacy. Not sure where to start with learning about this process? Hospice recently released their Traveler’s Guide to Life Road Maps for the Journey’s End advanced planning guide, which you can learn more about on our website.
• Set yourself up for success. Conversations about end-of-life planning are not one and done. If you’re working to complete a Traveler’s Guide to Life Road Maps for the Journey’s End advanced planning guide, recognize this should be an ongoing conversation with family and friends. Go into this project knowing it is not something you sit down and complete on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. This can help keep you from getting overwhelmed and discouraged. As an aside- if you try to have these conversations with friends and family and they refuse to participate, do the work anyway and be sure to tell them where they can find it.
These conversations are hard, without a doubt. They make you and your loved ones imagine a world without you in it- an awful but eventual guarantee. However, the beauty of having these hard conversations is they give you the gift of time to share with your loved ones. When you get to the end of your life, having a plan in place, you can focus on what really matters. Spend time sharing your favorite cookie recipe, laughing about good times, and saying goodbye rather than worrying about what funeral home to use or where the will was kept.
For more info on advanced care planning and getting the conversation started visit www.hospiceslv.org or call 315-265-3105.
Kate Favaro is Bereavement Coordinator & Volunteer Manager with Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley.
THE SAGE CONNECTION
I firmly believe in lifelong learning. But I must confess when Danny Stusser asked me to go to a Death Café to get material for my column, I was dumbstruck.
What on earth is a “Death Café”? For that matter, what in the world is a “Death Doula”? And what was I thinking when I agreed to go to one?
A chat about life's end over coffee and cake does not sound like anything my friends and I would discuss when we get together for a visit.
I had absolutely no clue what to expect when I entered the Death Café being held at the South Sound Senior Center in Olympia.
What I found was a delightful group of seniors, and a death doula by the name of Glenn Harper, talking about a subject we cannot escape and is too often avoided.
The Death Doula or End of Life Doula:
Glenn Harper is the Death Doula leading the Death Cafes at the Virgil Clarkson Senior Center in Lacey and Olympia Senior Center. He describes his title and role in this way; “During the pandemic, I took and graduated from a four-month online end-of-life doula course. Many people are familiar with a birth doula, which is a person who guides new mothers through preparation for the birth process.
More recently, the term death doula, or end-of-life doula, has been used to refer to people who assist people who are dying, and their families, to navigate the challenges that accompany the transition at the end of life.
This can be anything from assistance with paperwork such as living wills, do not resuscitate orders, funeral arrangements, respite care for the terminal patient to allow family caregivers a break, memorial celebrations of life, etc.
Often, a third party can help navigate some of the challenges that come with the end of life with a more objective and clear-eyed view than people closer and more emotionally charged. Having said that, the dying person’s wishes should always be of uppermost importance.
The Death Café:
The Death Café I attended could seat 12 comfortably and was pretty full when I arrived, but as time wore on, more people arrived and more chairs were added. We all introduced ourselves and talked a little bit about lost loved ones and the emotions, guilt, and fear, death and death discussions can bring to mind.
Another common denominator was the fact so many of us had family members unwilling to discuss our end of life, period. Being seniors that had all lost loved ones, end-of-life options were discussed and ranged from the natural composting burial allowed in our state to common services like cremation and burials, along with different rituals observed by different cultures and beliefs.
As more stories were shared, more questions arose and tips were offered, like always use the legal form for a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and follow the legal requirements for this and other forms. Another question: the difference between a medical power of attorney and a standard power of attorney?
Another question concerned whether you would want lifesaving steps to be taken if you were found unconscious or not breathing. Everyone seemed familiar with the recommended placement of your DNR on the refrigerator so first responders could quickly find your wishes.
But, as one guest asked, what if you are not home when this happens? Another guest informed us you could put DNR on your phone under your emergency contact. Cards and bracelets, similar to the medical alert type, are also available.
I found several options on Amazon for DNR wallet-size cards, medical alert-type bracelets and refrigerator magnets
No one who spoke seemed to fear death itself but did not want to linger in pain. The Death with Dignity Law was touched upon, but tabled for another day as time began to run short.
All in all, it was a very comfortable and informative gathering and I would attend again.
One's cultural identity often pave the way for grief norms.
Cultural rituals often include death and grief traditions, which are consistent ways to support the mourners and pave the path for community support.
Taken from the attached article, here are some examples of how grief aligns with religious and cultural beliefs ~
Christianity: Scripture offers support, guidance, and comfort for the bereaved, while reminding them that they will see their loved one in the afterlife.
Judaism: Specific grief rituals are offered as guidance to honor the deceased and to find comfort in the Jewish tradition, in addition to, providing expected modes of conduct in the first year of grief.
North America: "Most Americans find it uncomfortable and taboo to openly talk about grief, leaving bereaved to mourn their losses privately".
Mexico: Grief traditions involve openly grieving and honoring the death and paying last respects to the deceased and the deceased's family"
Exploring differently religious and cultural expressions of death and grief may be helpful in finding what aligns with your soul and what brings you more comfort. What traditions, rituals, or beliefs feel true to you?
"Over the years, there have been great changes in the social phasing of mourning in America. Until fairly recently, people in mourning were expected to wear dark clothes, often black, and to sequester themselves; to attend a movie a month or two after a spouse's death would be shocking. Now many feel that the opposite is true and that displaying grief in a public fashion is in bad taste. Private life is now more and more separated from public view".
Should one's grief be molded by what is socially acceptable?
What guidelines should be followed for grieving in public?
How did your family show grief - stoic grief, avoided grief, time-limited grief?
Are these social norms healthy or do they hurt us emotionally?
Is Grief supposed to fit in a box that is tucked away and not reopened?
Be curious about the various ways in which you see and feel that society has imposed its restrictions on how we grieve and pave your own pathway to supporting another person's grief and your own bereavement.