It’s time for another News Roundup! We wanted to share some interesting stories that we have come across recently in the caregiving and grieving worlds. We frequently read caregiving and grieving stories, many of which are well written and informative. Sadly, all too often, many of the grief stories are related to shootings and other violent acts. Here we focus on the stories relevant to young adults in caregiving and grief, which continue to be somewhat rare. These particular discussions, we feel, are worthy of your precious time.
We just came across (and wished we had seen it in 2015) this PBS special on Frontline, following best selling author, Atul Gawande, as he features the physician-patient relationship nearing the end of life. It is powerful and we highly recommend it. As he states, “We want to seem competent and competent means, ‘I can fix this.’” Yet, when it can’t be fixed, the physician needs to have a different conversation. The special features a neuro-oncologist who sees patients with one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer with a <5% survival rate and who has end of life discussions daily. We are convinced that she deserves a medal for this heroic work! Be forewarned that this is an emotional episode, so you may not want to watch it at work.
This article on Next Avenue made us reflect on the often unrealistic dream of having a grand, “last conversation.” It is not always feasible to have a meaningful final moment, but you can add up enough of your many conversations, cherished moments, and even unspoken love, to make something meaningful. When our sister was dying, we each had moments, exchanges and expressions of love which reassure us that we expressed how much we meant to each other. To us, that is more real and meaningful than any dramatic Hollywood movie ending.
On a similar topic of preparing for death and end-of-life discussions, have you heard about The Conversation Project?
This book just came out: AARP's Meditations for Caregivers
It doesn’t matter if it’s a southern thing, or old-fashioned, as this Guardian article states, we agree that cooking is a specific thing that you can do for a friend who has lost a loved one. Cooking is an expression of love and is an easy way to help. This article will make you laugh, while reminding us that food can bring comfort. As the author states, “People can eat all the carrot sticks and carb-free tortillas they want when they’re feeling happy. Heavy grief, in my opinion, is best fought off with equally heavy cream."
One of our favorite British Royals, Prince Harry, recently commented on how important it is to talk about grief. And if he's talking about grief, then it must be cool, right?
We are enjoying reading a newly published book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort, offering humor in a memoir about grief and loss. The author lost her father and husband from cancer in 2014, just a few weeks after miscarrying her second baby. As she states in the introduction: “This is for people who have been through some shit - or have watched someone go through it. This is for people who aren’t sure if they’re saying or doing the right thing (you’re not, but nobody is). This is for people who had their life turned upside down and just learned to live that way. For people who laughed at a funeral or cried at a grocery store.” We can certainly relate!
Do you have any news stories in caregiving or grief to share?