Articles

Death: why children should be taught about it in school

"New efforts need to be made todemystify death and dying . And there's more to it than simply getting people to talk about death – although this is a positive step. Directly educating the younger generation is an important shift towards empowering people to understand the interplay between law, medicine and ethical issues surrounding death and dying."

The Problem With a Happy Funeral

"The problem with trying to have a happy funeral is, that when someone we love dies, we aren't happy, we're sad.

We may have happy memories about the person, and there may be a part of us that's happy because they're no longer suffering or in pain, so there can be parts of a funeral that have happiness. But when someone we care about dies, the normal and natural human response is grief. We're sad, and it’s healthy to be sad."

What a doctor wishes patients knew about the end

"As a hospice and palliative medicine physician, my job is to help reduce suffering. At the end of life, that job becomes especially intense when time is short, when machines and data seem to be taking over, and so many intense emotions surround a body that is trying to die.

But here in that narrow trench, both providers and patients do have power to shape their experience together, especially if they take the time to have a few crucial conversations. In the spirit of palliation, here are a few things, as a physician, I wish I could share more often with patients and their caregivers."
 
 
"I know first hard, that there is no easy way to move on after experiencing such a great loss, but here are some phrases that I have heard over the years after people learned about my story of losing my parents, and these phrases have seemed to be extremely comforting to me. I hope by sharing these phrases with you, they can, in turn, help someone else that needs that same comfort."
 
 
"About a month ago, I helped with a service for a family that included a three hour, one-way trip to the mountains for a burial in a family cemetery. After the service the family meandered around between the cemetery and a family member's nearby home. My boss left to go and fill up the hearse for the drive home while I waited for the vault company to show (we don't leave a burial until the casket is in the ground and covered with dirt). As I sat on one of the velvet covered chairs under the big green canopy, a young girl (we'll call her Olivia) came and sat in the chair next to me. It was quiet for a minute as she was looking intently at the casket still hanging over the vault and the hole that would soon envelope it."