Monday, November 10, 2008

November is National Hospice Month; Veterans' Day Appreciation

All of us must face grief in our lives. Coping with grief is a topic which I have been researching lately because it has hit so close to home in these past months.

Grief comes in many forms, not only in the loss of a loved one through death, but also in the form of other significant losses. Loss of a job, a relationship, an income, our youth, good health, and even the realization of losing unreached expectations can all be forms of deep loss.

There are online support groups for loss who have experienced loss, such as Grief Net, “where grace happens” and Grief Recovery, dedicated to grief loss and recovery. There are community based programs dealing with grief, such as Western Colorado Hospice and Palliative Care Program, with which I am proudly associated.

Last month I completed 30 hours of volunteer training for this group, and look forward to working in the patient care setting for this organization either at the inpatient care center, in private homes, or in nursing homes. Our local hospice has over 300 volunteers, which is a real tribute to our giving community.

From Gifts of Grief, a 52 minutes film can be ordered:
The Gifts of Grief asks a timely important question - How do we transform the tragedy of our losses into a life altering experience that deepens and enriches our lives?...We explore the possibility that grief while very painful, it is one of the closely guarded keys to true transformation and joy.
In a previous post Certified Therapy Dog, and also here at Therapy Dog in Nursing Facility, Libby Sweetpea has been highlighted as a helper dog. She will continue to help me at our local hospice.

An excellent video which I watched over the weekend, entitled "Wounded Warriors", gave helpful information about dealing with war veterans as they face their own mortality and deaths. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was high on the list for acute awareness in dealing with those who have been engaged in our armed forces, and especially those who have faced battle.

Grief issues addressed to Vietnam veterans are covered succinctly in an article at this Australian supported site A Digger and a Bloke. The article is much too long to quote in this post, but it is worth reading for the enlightenment factor of what veterans often face when dealing with PTSD.

Thank you, veterans, for your service. Thank you, all hospices world-wide, in sensitively dealing with end of life issues.

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