Dying & Death Talk

Looking at dying and death for what it is: a part of life.



How to Cope with Anticipatory Grief and Ambiguous Loss

Courtesy of | By Cynthia Orange | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock | Originally Published 09.14.2017 | Posted 11.27.2018

The longer we live and the more we experience, the more we find ourselves in the cracks between joy and contentment on one side of life’s continuum and grief and loss on the other. Children leave our nests, we move from vocations to avocations — from retirement to, as a dear friend puts it, “re-aspirement.” Addresses, relationships, bodies, even spouses, can change. More loved ones get more serious diagnoses. Sometimes we get dreaded medical test results ourselves.

When someone dies, the loss seems clear. But what about those times when grief is anticipatory — when the diagnosis is terminal and we grieve the inevitable? Or times when the loss is ambiguous? Perhaps a parent shows signs of dementia, a son or daughter in the military is missing in action or returns from combat with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or a dear friend has a serious stroke. Maybe a loved one is in the throes of addiction. What was has changed, replaced by uncertainty. Continue reading “How to Cope with Anticipatory Grief and Ambiguous Loss”

YOUR FUNERAL. LET’S PLAN IT. WHY? So Your Loved Ones Won’t Be Arguing Over What They THINK You Would Want.


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Here is the honest truth: Making final arrangements for a loved one often brings about more pain and bad feelings among the surviving loved ones than healing. Of course, there is the inevitable pain of losing the loved one, but I am referring to the unnecessary pain—the deliberation over which funeral home should perform the service; the discussions about paying for the service; the arguments over whether the loved one even wanted a service in the first place; the debates over what type of service to disagreements over how the deceased should be dressed for the service. The examples are endless, but I believe you get the picture: If the loved one had just written down his or her wishes on what to do when he or she dies, much of the drama around making final arrangements could be avoided.

Death is an important event—and a certainty—in our lives. Unfortunately, however, like most events we deem significant, many of us do not plan or prepare for our death. When we pass on without leaving instructions about what to do when we die, a massive burden is placed on our loved ones. Many decisions must be made within a short period of time, yet clear choices may be difficult to make. By completing this document and distributing it among those you trust to carry out your final wishes, you are sparing your loved ones the emotional and financial burden of making those final arrangements on your behalf.

Leave a legacy of peace and order by documenting and distributing your final wishes.

Anticipatory Grief Symptoms and Purpose

Courtesy of | By Lynne Eldridge, MD | Photo Credits: and Counseling Free Photos/Creative CommonOriginally Published 08.26.2018 | Posted 11.08.2018


Understanding Grief Before Loss and Death

Article Table of Contents

What Is Anticipatory Grief? 
Does It Help Grieving Later On?
Treatment and Counseling 

Anticipatory grief is a common grief reaction among people who are facing the eventual death of a loved one. Yet, while most people are familiar with the grief that occurs after a death (conventional grief), this kind of grief that occurs before a death is not often discussed. Because of this, some people find it socially unacceptable to express the deep grief and pain they are experiencing and receive the support they need. What is anticipatory grief, what symptoms might you expect, and how can you best cope with this difficult time?

As a quick note, this article is directed more to someone who is grieving the impending loss of a loved one, but preparatory grief is also experienced by the person who is dying. Hopefully, this article on coping with anticipatory grief, will be helpful to both those who are dying and those who are grieving a loved one’s imminent death.

Continue reading “Anticipatory Grief Symptoms and Purpose”

Hospice Photography Creates Legacy for Families

Courtesy of | By Kevyn Burger | Photo Credits: Amanda Reseburg |Originally Published 08.15.2017 | Posted 11.06.2018

 Scenes from a loved one’s final days can be moving and meaningful

Wilma Jensen didn’t mind admitting that she was a little vain. The theater director, Red Hat Society chapter founder and one-time Avon Lady always wanted to look her best, a quality she shared with her two girls.

“We know we look better with our eyeliner on,” said her daughter Erika Bender, now 37. “That’s how we roll.”

That was true for Jensen’s last moment in the spotlight.

Last Moments, Memorialized

A longtime breast cancer survivor, Jensen was 70 when her cancer metastasized in 2014. A few days before Christmas, she went into hospice care in a facility in her hometown of Beloit, Wis.

Her family was gathered there when they were asked if they would like a session with a photographer to capture some of their last hours together.

“At first, I wasn’t sure,” Bender confessed. “I wondered if it would be intrusive and too sad.”

But her mother, never camera shy, rallied to be picture perfect for the session.

“She put on her makeup and took her oxygen out to get pretty,” Bender said. Continue reading “Hospice Photography Creates Legacy for Families”

Options for Body Disposition After Death

Courtesy of Consumer’s | By Kevin Brasler | Originally Posted 11.2017 | Posted 10.21.2018

There are several options for disposing of a deceased person’s remains.


Burial is the traditional choice. It can be done directly, with no viewing or ceremonies, or with any combination of viewing, ceremony, and graveside service. It usually requires you to pay for a casket; cemetery plot; fees to open and close the grave; cemetery endowment (upkeep); and a marker, monument, or headstone. Though most burials are below ground, another usually more expensive option is burial above ground in a mausoleum.

Direct burial is the least expensive option: A funeral home files the necessary paperwork, places the unembalmed body in a casket, and takes the remains to a cemetery for burial, usually within one day. This is often accompanied by a simple graveside service. This alternative eliminates expenses for embalming and some expenses for funeral home facilities, and most families choose a lower-priced casket.

Continue reading “Options for Body Disposition After Death”

YOUR FUNERAL. Let’s Plan It. WHY? So your loved ones won’t be arguing over what they think you would want.

Plus It’s FREE!!

Watching Your Parent Die Is Absolute Hell

Courtesy of Scary | Posted 10.02.2018

My dad was dying long before we received the devastating news on a cold winter morning. After suffering a minor stroke, my father’s stage 4 cancer was discovered quite by accident while he had follow-up tests to prevent further strokes. As my father relayed the news to me, I gripped the phone and tried to comprehend what he was saying. His cancer was advanced, and suddenly, his time on Earth was finite.

His battle was over before it started.

At his advanced cancer stage, chemotherapy options were limited and surgery wasn’t an option. Radiation wasn’t going to thwart the progression, and when we looked at the hard evidence, it was clear that his quality of life was going to suffer a great deal if he put himself through the rigors of a chemotherapy regimen that had little to no chance of prolonging his life. Continue reading “Watching Your Parent Die Is Absolute Hell”

While visiting my dying stepmother, I discovered her children had looted my father’s estate

Courtesy of | By Quentin Fottell | Published 08.04.2018 | Posted 09.24.2018

‘A word of warning to your readers: Don’t trust anyone’


Dear Moneyist,

My father passed in 2001. He married his wife in 1971 when I was 14. I have two blood siblings, and my step-mother had one daughter; they are very close. My stepmother is now 91 and in failing health. My wife and I traveled 1,000 miles to stay with her during her recovery from pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease last week. We have always gotten along well together and, over the years, my siblings have been very nice to her.

‘I realized I was looking at the looting of my dad’s estate—and all the money had been drained by my step-sister and her husband.’

Before my dad passed, we had a frank and clear discussion about his estate. He had worked and invested and had more than $1 million in his estate, which he clearly stated to me was to be split four equal ways upon the death of his wife. She was also provided for by his company’s life insurance policy, and the $600,000 from the sale of his Southern California home.

During our visit, she offered to have us stay in her home. I was going through the old picture albums, and taking some cell phone camera shots of my kids. There weren’t a lot, mostly of her daughter.

One of the picture albums had financial documents in it, and I soon realized I was looking at the looting of my dad’s estate—and all the money had been drained by my step-sister and her husband.

I’d like to say I was shocked, but really it was almost a validation. My stepsister’s husband has been on disability for 18 years. Each year, their whole family of 6 takes at least 2 cruises. They drive new cars, and there was plenty of money for my stepsister to buy a business for her son.

I didn’t see the will when my dad died, but somehow he left it so that in certain circumstance, if his wife’s income fell to a certain level, they were able to access my dad’s estate principle. In 2009, my stepsister and her husband took out a $750,000 single-premium life insurance on my stepmom.

Continue reading “While visiting my dying stepmother, I discovered her children had looted my father’s estate”

How to Die

Courtesy of The | By Jordan Michael Smith | Published 10.2017 issue | Posted 09.18.2018

As a psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom has helped others grapple with their mortality. Now he is preparing for his own end.

Updated on September 22, 2017

One morning in may, the existential psychotherapist Irvin Yalom was recuperating in a sunny room on the first floor of a Palo Alto convalescent hospital. He was dressed in white pants and a green sweater, not a hospital gown, and was quick to point out that he is not normally confined to a medical facility. “I don’t want [this article] to scare my patients,” he said, laughing. Until a knee surgery the previous month, he had been seeing two or three patients a day, some at his office in San Francisco and others in Palo Alto, where he lives. Following the procedure, however, he felt dizzy and had difficulty concentrating. “They think it’s a brain issue, but they don’t know exactly what it is,” he told me in a soft, gravelly voice. He was nonetheless hopeful that he would soon head home; he would be turning 86 in June and was looking forward to the release of his memoir, Becoming Myself, in October.

Issues of The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times Book Review sat on the bed, alongside an iPad. Yalom had been spending his stay watching Woody Allen movies and reading novels by the Canadian writer Robertson Davies. For someone who helped introduce to American psychological circles the idea that a person’s conflicts can result from unresolvable dilemmas of human existence, among them the dread of dying, he spoke easily about his own mortality.

Continue reading “How to Die”

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