Join Elizabeth Coplan and Dr. Karen Smith, Clinical Ethicist, LCSW, Ph.D., Henry Ford Health System. She is also VP of the Funeral Consumer Alliance. Dr. Smith provides independent ethics consultations, ethics policy development and ethics education for hospital staff. Her passion is sharing ethics with medical professionals and the community and assisting families during difficult decisions. She specializes in death and dying issues and lecture on a variety of healthcare related ethical issues.
Today on our podcast Dr. Smith talks of her work with families to create memorable dying memories. The concept is that during that awful, but special time when you know you are sharing your last weeks, days, hours with someone that often there is "a time" when things can be reframed, to focus on the pure love between you and the person dying. At these times I tell families that "THIS will be what you remember MOST about this time" . It is setting a positive intention to not remember the pain, the tiredness, the overwhelming loss but to focus on the the love, the truly being there, with your loved one. Sometimes this time is memorialize if possible (even after death sometimes) in a photo of the linked hands of family members over the sheets of their loved one. It may be making a handprint, it may be simply creating a memory of a "good day" where you were able to talk, laugh, or do something together (go outside, to the chapel, a special visitor).
Ever wonder what to do with your loved ones ashes? Chuck Munat wanted his ashes scattered around the world. More specifically, he wanted his ashes sprinkled in Ireland, on Squirrel Island in Maine, and in Akaroa, New Zealand.
After Chuck died, Florrie, his wife and caretaker, took his remains to New Zealand where Chuck was welcomed home by family, friends, and three hundred pairs of nesting little blue penguins.
Florrie wrote about her experience in her essay “Coming Home” from our book Just a Little More Time.
Florrie Munat, formerly an English teacher, a reference librarian, and Young Adult book reviewer, describes the six years as her husband’s caretaker as he struggle with dementia in her new book Be Brave: A Wife’s Journey Through Caregiving.
Today on our podcast we asked Florrie more about this journey of love. The chapter titled “The Power of Love” offers a glimpse of Florrie’s ability to help us understand the complicated jumble of heartache and letting go.
Have you ever seen Vogue–The Widow’s Edition? Have you heard of the latest Stella McCartney collection–for Widows? No? Neither had Kate Ruffing when she found herself a young widow at age 38 she decided to set a new trend–one her deceased husband would approve.
It wasn’t suppose to be this way. The vows said ‘til death do us part but that was not for years, decades, a 50th anniversary party. Listen to Kate Ruffing as she describes how, after 4 years of trying everything she could - rehab centers, detox wards, countless emergency room visits, interventions and therapists–she knew that soon death would indeed part the young couple.