hospice

hospice

On February 6, 2012, I was at work in Delaware when I got a call from Mom in Arizona. Dad was worse, she said. They’d called in hospice.

I hesitated. I was already planning to visit at the end of the month. Did I really need to drop everything — to miss the board meeting of the organization I work for? I phoned the nursing home where Dad lived. Yes, his nurse said. It won’t be long now — maybe hours, maybe days.

What if we understand death as a developmental stage — like adolescence or mid-life? Dr. Ira Byock is a leading figure in palliative care and hospice in the United States. He says we lose sight of "the remarkable value" of the time of life we call dying if we forget that it's always a personal and human event, and not just a medical one. From his place on this medical frontier, he shares how we can understand dying as a time of learning, repair, and completion of our lives.

The Terri Schiavo case earlier this year raised ethical and medical issues that remain with us today. But missing in that debate was a real attention to the quality and the meaning of death. Joan Halifax tells us what she's learned and how she lives differently after three decades accompanying others to the final boundary of human life.

A story of learning and friendship and circles of learning in which each person is a teacher — of learning how to live with death and learning how to live.

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The first Buddhist chaplaincy training program in the U.S. is featured in this beautiful short film about end of life care.

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The first lesbian couple ordained without the blessing of the ELCA discuss coming out, falling in love, losing jobs then gaining them, and feeling God work through them during the AIDS crisis and their hospice chaplaincy. A guest contribution from Sasha Aslanian.