Posts Tagged ‘ death and dying ’

WHEN YOU ARE THE LAST ONE LEFT

May 2nd, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

If you are the last of your family, as all the other significant members have passed on, an empty hole, hard, if not impossible, to fill, seems to characterize your emotional state. At 74, and an only child, losing my parents has meant that that mysterious connectedness which has been with me all my life is now in the past. You are now quite alone. Although you likely have created other significant alliances that have helped you get through life, those most intimate and emotionally significant to you are now gone.

Those who have enjoyed and celebrated having siblings or geographically close relatives of one ilk or another have the memorable joy of some important unions. Some find the fraternity of long time friends to be helpful in cementing significant relationships. There is, for most of us, the need to



LINGERING LONELINESS

Apr 13th, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

There aren’t words enough to reveal the feelings that come upon the death of a dear, sainted Mother. There aren’t emotions, poured out in tears and agony over the loss of the one who gave you life. There aren’t sentiments eloquent enough to describe the lonely hurt that overtakes you, the sudden flood of tears, the amazing emptiness that overtakes you.

But as the popular song suggests neither is there any “mountain high enough, no valley low enough to keep me from you.”

In spite of the alienation caused by the suddenness of death, the deep and abiding loneliness, the sudden and abrupt separation, one must find ways to keep the loving memory going.



TERMINAL AGITATION, A CAREGIVER’S NIGHTMARE

Mar 22nd, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Caregiving is increasingly common among senior citizens in today’s world of ever-increasing longevity. Many of us have elderly parents or loved ones for whom some level of care is required. They may still be in their own home, and we check in on them several times a week. Or they are still at home needing daily care and attention. Or they cannot live alone any longer and for a variety of reasons do not enter a care facility; they move in with you instead. And still more of us find our parents in nursing/group/assisted living facilities.

Let’s face it. We seniors are at high risk to become caregivers to one degree or another. And many of us are ill equipped to manage caring for the elderly who manifest a variety of behaviors that confuse and perplex us.



SAYING GOODBYE

Mar 1st, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The occasion to say goodbye is one of the experiences of aging all of us must struggle to meet. My 93 year old mother has begun to find ways to articulate how to do that for herself. She recognizes the need to identify those to whom saying good bye needs to be intentional. She is aware of the various steps, not so numerous because of her long life, that will nonetheless need to be laid out.

Among the most difficult features of this experience is saying farewell to those who have meant and continue to mean the most. She will need to articulate to as many as will be available her deep and abiding affection while consciousness allows the opportunity to say what she wants to say in her own words.



WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Feb 21st, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Let’s Talk About Death A recent New York Times article addressed how to handle the issue of death with children. SCJ editors talked about the article, pondering the topic and raising questions about cultural mores. We began with “Why do we have to have a plan regarding talking about death with children?”// Death is one [...]



FOR SENIORS: WHEN MORTALITY KNOCKS

Aug 9th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The next door neighbor to my Mom in the Care Facility where she resides heard the knock of mortality this past week. Surgery introduced him and us to how close it is. He returned from the hospital with the message, shared by the physicians, that it is now only a matter of time. Not a pleasing message to hear. Not an encouraging word to ready oneself for what’s next. Complications from surgery brought the message home. Sometimes, it seems, living with things as they are may be better than trying to trick mortality out of a “little while longer.” Whatever the circumstances now it is a matter of keeping the patient comfortable and patiently await the inevitable. Not a pleasant prospect, in any case.

And yet, when mortality knocks there are several available options to consider. They are, by definition, not



SENIORS ADJUST TO THE LOSS OF FRIENDS

Mar 13th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

One of the most difficult of life’s experiences, as we age, is the loss of long time friends. It seems to come suddenly, when, for the most part, the process has been in place for weeks or months. We don’t hear from someone for a long time, and we wonder. We fail to be in touch, and we excuse ourselves. We get out of the habit of inquiring of those who might know. We just lose touch.

Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, sometimes shockingly, the news comes. “Oh, haven’t you heard, she died a week ago?” The ache settles in. The awareness that you hadn’t taken any initiative to find out how she was doing catches you up. The sudden realization that another one is gone begins to strike you. Living out your own agendas finds you often unawares and frequently forgetting that others, like you, are aging too. They have their issues and needs and circumstances that are contributing to your not hearing from



JUST FOR SUNDAY: 2/19/12

Feb 19th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

A retired pastor, friend and colleague shared the following counsel with his congregation a number of years ago. I thank him for having shared it with me.

“One of the necessities of our mortality is the management of grief. Grief permeates life and learning to live with it is a process which belongs in the growth graph of each one of us. But in spite of the fact that the management of grief is a common experience, many of us do not do a good job of helping others handle their grief. Therefore, I want to suggest some ways in which you can be helpful to relatives and friends in their grief experiences.

“Definite don’ts:



SENIOR WOMEN MAKE MEMORIES

Jan 14th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

A Relationship with Memories The editor of AARP The Magazine, Nancy Perry Graham, wrote about making memories in a recent edition.  She wrote about a trip her mother, daughter and she took to New York City recently.  Her final paragraph struck a chord with me:  “The anxious and angry moments are fleeting; the mess from [...]



SENIORS: WALKING THE JOURNEY TOGETHER

Jan 13th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It was not the most celebratory of holidays. It was fraught with bad news moments when telephone calls and emails notified us of the death or impending passing of a friend or a loved one. It almost seemed epidemic. Following on the contact came the necessary task of putting travel arrangements together, notifying others, packing and making ready for a strenuous journey which would involve about 12 hours. At such times, there is no excuse giving, backing out, or pleading helplessness. Being there with those you care deeply for and about is the only mandate to be accepted.

As I traveled several hundred miles to be present for the memorial service of my father-in-law, I was mindful of others who had died in the last few days: A member of a congregation I had served, a friend who had undergone a long and lingering fight with cancer, a friend who had lost her husband. It was not a happy time. It was a time for grief, a moment