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Facing Mortality Head On October 24, 2012

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Several months ago I became acquainted with Richard Wagner Ph.D and had the pleasure to read his book The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying.  His work with people facing end of life issues is inspired and I admire his fearless approach to go into territory most consider taboo and awkward.  Richard Wagner has been working with terminally ill, chronically ill, elder and dying people in hospital, hospice, and home settings for over 30 years. He facilitates support groups for care-providers and clinical personnel, and provides grief counseling for survivors both individually and in group settings.

He founded Paradigm Programs Inc, an innovative nonprofit organization with a mission to be an outreach and resource for terminally ill, chronically ill, elder and dying people. He was honored with the prestigious University of California San Francisco Chancellor’s Award for Public Service in 1999 for his work with sick, elder and dying people. (more…)

“The Conversation Project” Breaks Ground August 28, 2012

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Some of you know that the purpose of this blog site is to get people talking with their loved ones about preparations for an end of life situation. After my caregiving experience with someone very dear to me I became keenly aware of the importance of having such a conversation and how much it can help the non-professional caregiver as well as the one being taken care of.

The reality is that almost all of us will enter into a caregiving situation once or multiple times in our life. I recently saw a quote by Rosalyn Carter that says it very well, “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers”. Caregiving is not something we will be exempted from unless, I suppose, we are living alone in a remote cave in the jungle.

As our population continues to age, many Boomers are now finding themselves caregiving for their parents. Increasingly, the Boomers will need to be taken care of as well. K was a Boomer, as am I, giving me some insight to what lies ahead for many of us; and with the huge population of boomers, caregiving will become massive. As ominous as that might sound I happen to see something exciting about it. (more…)

A Tale of Two Memorials May 28, 2012

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It’s completely coincidental that I’m inspired to write about memorials on Memorial Day. It just so happened that last weekend we had a second memorial for K in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is where K is originally from and it always held a special place in her heart. There are a lot of family and dear friends who still reside there, not to mention there’s also a spot for her in the family’s section of a local cemetery.

The memorial was a wonderful experience. It was thoughtfully and lovingly planned and attended by people who had strong affection for her. K was an amazing individual and I feel incredibly lucky to have known her so intimately. Those who met her were almost always deeply affected by her joy, sharp intelligence and caring nature. When she focused her attention on you it was both genuine and complete. She had a way of connecting that made you feel you mattered.

What I liked so much about the two memorials was that they were put together out of a combination of K’s wishes and our own inspiration. K provided us with enough information to take care of some basics, but she was clear that memorials are for the living. She wanted that whoever attended should have a good experience and that her family and I were able to express our love for her in our own way. (more…)