No Mulligans on the 18th Hole - NEW for 2019!
On March 15, 2016, I recalled the words I had uttered countless times over the past decade regarding the end of life. "Companioning our loved ones to the end of the road is one of THE hardest things we are called to do in this life - as well as one of THE most sacred. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Death doesn't offer a 'do-over.' We either embrace the journey or we don't!" So on that morning, as I read the text message informing me of the imminent death of my brother, I knew exactly where I needed to be, where I wanted to be - with my brother. There would be no mulligans on Richard's 18th hole. No do-over's. This is the story of how companioning my brother at the end of life transformed how I choose to live. A final blessing from my big brother.
Cardinal, LLC © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
A Time to Remember - NEW for 2019!
A Time to Remember is an opportunity to listen, to share, and to learn. Coming together to remember, we tease out the lessons to be learned by sharing our stories of loss. By so doing, our losses serve to inform how we choose to LIVE from this day forward. As human beings, loss is a common concern. Common cause. Common ground. As such, how can we support each other in our respective journeys of grief? By taking Time to Remember.
Human beings are inherently relational creatures. Among other things, we attach to people, things, ideas, titles, money, and dreams. Hence, we are consequently at risk of experiencing loss and grief as attachments change or end. Mourning our losses requires courage—courage to feel the pain, courage to address the void, courage to integrate the loss, and courage to re-engage with life. Far too often in our society, the time needed to mourn is not recognized or honored as we rush to return to work and get “back to normal.” We, instead, need to recognize the need to mourn our losses if we are to move through and beyond our grief.
Milestones of Mourning
When someone we love dies, how do we move on with life? A daunting question that most of us will confront numerous times over the course of a lifetime. And with every loss, each one of us will choose a unique way of walking through grief in order to live beyond it. Wouldn’t it be lovely—even motivating—if we could measure our progress as we mourn? To literally see how far we have come and thereby reinforce the belief that there is hope on the horizon—hope of healing. Well, the good news is that we can all create Milestones of Mourning. Please join us to experience this simple—yet sacred— ritual.
Although the holidays are portrayed in the media as the most joyous season of the year, the holidays are anything but joyous for those grieving the death of a loved one or another significant loss. Instead, the holidays highlight the losses and intensify the subsequent grief. Is it any wonder that so many people dread the holiday season—wishing merely to survive or to endure the festivities? When grieving, how can we effectively navigate the holidays? Perhaps the best advice is to have realistic expectations of the holidays, of yourself, and of others.
The End of the Road
Every journey has an end. Thus, the journey of caregiving will conclude at some point for the caregiver(s) and care receiver. Quite possibly, the ending is cause for celebration due to the full recovery of the care receiver. But not all endings are cause for celebration. With advanced age and terminal illness, the caregiving journey ultimately ends in the death of the care receiver. How we approach the end of the road as caregivers and care receivers is worthy of examination and consideration. We need to prepare well for this part of the journey if we are to be engaged instead of afraid. Yes, there are many changes and losses to be endured along the way. However, have you ever considered what is to be gained as we courageously walk to the end of the road?
Witness to Loss: What is to be Learned?
As we companion those who are aging, ill, or dying, we witness a tremendous amount of loss. No matter how well prepared or well trained we are, witnessing the losses of others affects us in profound ways. Sometimes the experience changes how we see the world, how we understand ourselves, and/or how we choose to believe. We are well served to consider what is to be gained from each experience of loss. Otherwise, we risk becoming either insensitive or overwhelmed as personal or professional companions.