Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28

Greetings dear ones. My oh my, how time flies. Life is good in Florida...the weather has been beautiful.

A patient of mine reminded me the other day that as he prepares to die, he notices the beauty of everything. So don't wait, notice the little things now. I learn many lessons from those that are living their last days.

I took a class recently, taught by a hospice volunteer, about aromatherapy. We use that alot for patients as there are many proven positive characteristics of the essential oils. Some to relax, some for pain relief, some that simply trigger wonderful memories. I wish I were more of an expert but I am learning. I would never have guessed that essential oils were used in hospices. I also am impressed with the massage therapists that have hands that are gifts to others. Bodies that are just about to give out can feel relief from tension and pain with simple touch.

Last week I was with a patient that was a Buddhist. He was so delightful and we had a wonderful conversation. We found out that we both enjoy writings from Thomas Merton so he wanted to give me all of his 20 books by Merton. It was a wonderful gesture although I cannot take the gift. So he will donate the books to a Chaplain Library and I will take his favorite book as a special gift. Before we were done talking, he asked me if I would join him in a Buddhist prayer. I was relieved when he told me what to do, and he sang the beautiful prayer.

I love being an interfaith chaplain - although I don't always know what that really means. I have learned about Jewish and Islam traditions, I have shared with a Buddhist, a Wiccan, an atheist, many spiritualists, scientologists, and of course, across many, many denominations in the Christian traditions. The amazing lesson is that no matter what faith you have or don't have, at the end of life, you just want someone to show you that they care. My goal is to be able to do that during life as well.

Peace to all...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

8) Somewhere Out There -- An American Tail Soundtrack

When I was very young, my dad would give my mom a big heart filled with chocolates and I would get a smaller one. I would offer my brothers some of my candy, but then I'd go and fill my heart box with chocolates from my mom's candy. It was a great lesson to encourage me to share, but then I also learned that there's always a supply of chocolate!

As with everything Americans do, we have made Valentine's Day into a $15 billion Hallmark holiday. Really?

We can show love in all kinds of ways and in simple ways. Sorry, I can't buy you all chocolates and flowers but I do believe in the spirit of the day. Love. So these are the ways I celebrate Valentine's Day in 2011 - Sent some cards, bought a fun pair of Valentine designed socks for a patient that loves socks, chocolate kisses for staff and families, and to gaze at the stars and be thankful for loved ones around the country.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 8

Greetings to all that read this blog. It is really strange to know that it is February and it was in the 70's today. I have never lived anywhere but Indiana -so 70 in February is not normal!

Hospice work is still good - really good. I hear stories that break my heart and other stories that give me new energy for humankind. One thing I notice now is that I am not so interested in world news. I see dying every day up close and personal - I don't need to read about the crazy things people do.

Family dynamics can be so messy. I see all kinds of things - survivors wanting to take jewelry off at the time of death so siblings can't get them. Patients that die that are in affairs. Patients that have abused their kids or significant other and then to watch those kids or significant others stay at the bedside so they don't die alone.

Not long ago there was a 37 year old woman that had cystic fibrosis and was ready to die. The mother wrapped her arms around her daughter and rocked her until she died. I had a buddy that died not long ago - he had been in to stay for a few days to manage pain and then he was to go home. When he left, he told me that he was hoping for remission and he wanted to come back and help me. I hoped that for him as well but it didn't work out that way.

Something that I have noticed is that I am loving movies! I have always enjoyed watching movies but now, it is my release from my work - it is my release from the continuous deaths and sadness that families experience. I usually rent them from the Red Box - cheap entertainment - but I also just recently went to see King's Speech and The Fighter. I loved King's Speech - The Fighter - not so much. So if you have a favorite movie that is a must see, let me know!

I am very excited that we are getting visitors soon. You all know who you are but I am so very excited to have friends and family come and visit!

Peace...shalom...paz. I'm sending some warm thoughts to the midwest!