Posts Tagged ‘ death and dying ’


Jan 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Jerry has a really bad head cold, and I’m the one who gave it to him, so I’m filling in for his blog post today. I have some reflections to share with our faithful readers about the reality of life in the middle-senior years. That’s the late 60s and throughout the 70s. I’m figuring that the ‘later’ senior years begin about 80.

By now you are aware that my father died a week ago, and we buried him last Saturday on a brisk, windy cold day in North East Iowa. He was 96, had lived a long, happy and fruitful life. His last several years were marked by moderate to severe dementia. He always knew who we were, but his short term memory was totally worn out. We heard the same statement and question many times during the course of a conversation. And we loved him anyway.


Dec 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The delivery of an oxygen tank, a walker and a hospital bed usually portends the coming of the end. It is often the sign of a battle well fought, but that energy and stamina are more and more depleted. The heart plays out. The disease takes control. The will to fight fades. The body has endured. And, now to make it day by day, certain aids and assistance are required.

Hospice, whether at home or in a specially equipped care center, is a word of comfort, but also of finality and sadness. It offers the presence of professional skills and sensitivities that have been honed to offer palliative care, necessary and appropriate measures to keep the dying loved one comfortable. It also gives support to family and friends who are going through the experience of imminent loss.

Guest Editorial: Hospice, I Know Someone Who Went There

Jun 26th, 2011 | By | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Editor’s Note: SCJ invites Guest Articles and Editorials from time to time.  This is one contributed by Dave Shaw, a cousin of one of the Senior Editor’s.  Dave writes a weekly blog with a spiritual bent and is devoting his time and talents to others in retirement.  Giving back is just one way seniors can […]

Senior Citizen Vacancies in the Heart

Jun 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Visiting briefly with an older friend the other day at a memorial service, we concluded that such occasions seem too frequent. Just over the matter of days two or three friends had died and their obituaries remind us how we are left with vacancies in the heart.
There is, she said, always the option to discover and identify new friends, but the loss of old friends brings a void that is irreplaceable. Such vacancies need filling. And, to fill them, we look for persons who appeal to us, for opportunities to shape and mold other friendships. We look beyond persons. We often find human substitutes, like things to do, distractions that allow us to shake the uncomfortable loneliness, a focus that will allow us to move on.
Move on, we must. Life is a series of adjustments and readjustments. There are none more dramatic than when someone we have counted on and enjoyed leaves us. The emptiness can be quite profound. But the emptiness must be replaced. Allowing the negatives of separation to overtake us will only make our own days miserable, our own futures full of sadness and pain. The void must be met. The empty places must be

Seniors: Some Musings About Death

Jun 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It seems that this issue comes to the fore more often than we would like as we grow older. Someone is met with a major emergency, requiring a quick trip to the emergency room, a transfer to a room awaiting surgery, a surgical procedure and then the long wait for stabilization. Then, before we know it things go south and life takes on a tragic, dramatic, sudden dimension requiring rapid response.

Most, who are met with the issue of someone having died, are faced with having to understand how they fit in, if they were close to the deceased, or had some clue about their lives and the disposition of their estates.

It always varies how such matters are addressed. Sometimes it includes those who were close, but not family. Much of the

Seniors: When Good Friends Die

May 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It seems always a shock to learn of the death, particularly sudden death, of a good friend. That happened awhile back. It took me quite off guard. Only four years my senior, I had always looked upon him as a model, a mentor, a good and wholesome human being. He was quick witted, warm, a hale fellow well met.

He had served in elective office for twelve years. When he left that post, he was all done with politics. But, had he chosen, he would have been easily elected again. He was trustworthy, cared for his constituency and was a gentle man.

A farmer, just out of high school a year, it would become his role to follow in his father’s footsteps upon his death. He has a lovely spouse, a dear well respected brother and a successful son. His death was sudden and those who learned of it must

Seniors: The Shock of Sudden Death

May 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

When someone dies suddenly, unexpectedly there comes with it a shock, much like that of an earthquake. On an emotional scale it is hard to calculate or register. It is so because it comes with such force that it is hard to anticipate the after effects. Suddenly, without warning, the one who was here is gone. Without advance notice, it hits. With brutal and devastating quickness it comes and within that moment, your whole frame must accommodate the brutality of it. Emotions have to be allowed their due. The body must ready itself for some kind of readjustment. The mind must take in the information and figure out a way to process it. The spirit has to rise to the occasion to head off too much damage to the entire universe that is you.

Now, your knowledge bank must take in this new and unwelcome information that has invaded all your senses. Now, you must call on the depths of your person

Seniors: Offering a Final Gift, the Generosity of Organ Donation

May 6th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Perhaps you and your family have already deliberated the possibility of organ donation upon death and designed your own specific plan. If so, that is commendable. If not it may be worth considering as you make all the necessary preparations dealing with the inevitability of death.

In this column, we have previously dealt with funeral preparations, estate plans and issues, distribution of all kinds of furniture and collections in your keeping, power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders and so on. All of these require time, attention, deliberation and action. Putting them off will only increase the agony and anxiety for others, if they are not addressed in a timely manner.

Organ donation is another of those that is easy to put

Seniors: Changing Course After Loss

Mar 11th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Right now, this very day, there are a number of spouses dealing with the imminent death of their mate. It may be that the partner who is ill is at home, perhaps in hospice, is dealing with a limited number of days before death strikes.

When it comes, the surviving spouse will be faced with a plethora of necessary adjustments. If your own spouse has already died, sometime ago, you may also be dealing with the continuum of required changes in your own life.

This column is dedicated to those who are already struggling with redefining their life’s course. Unless a person has gone through this valley previously, it is likely the experience will come with its surprises and unexpected changes. Those changes may even be unwelcome. But come, they will.

Seniors: How to Say Goodbye from Far Away

Mar 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

At Christmas last year, there came a greeting card and a short note from a dear and abiding friend. She had lived in the same community with us, was a part of the church, and developed into a steadfast supporter.

I tucked the card and note in a place where I could be reminded to reply and to chat. Before that happened, however, news came of her death. She was in her eighties, so it needn’t have been a surprise. She was not experiencing any life threatening illnesses, but she simply passed away.

Now no longer is it possible to say goodbye, from far away. She had moved from Arizona to Missouri, her home state. Family and long time friends reside there. She had, it seems, done as many do. She had gone home to die.