Sunday, April 12, 2009
Image via WikipediaMeghan O'Rourke has written a series of articles dealing with the loss of her mother to colon cancer on Christmas day. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. She weaves a wonderful mix of humanities with the science of humanities, all on the background of her own loss experience. Here is a great snippet that gives you a sense of where she is at:
Since my mother's death, I have been in grief. I walk down the street; I answer my phone; I brush my hair; I manage, at times, to look like a normal person, but I don't feel normal.She researches the medical literature, and thankfully finds the Yale study on Kubler-Ross stages/states from 2007. She makes many literature references including CS Lewis' A Grief Observed, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, multiple poets and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. She even talked with Holly Prigerson, the lead researcher on the Coping with Cancer study.
This series is a must read for anyone in hospice and palliative care. Use each article as a discussion point at your next team meeting. Feel free to post other ways to use these articles in the comments.
I will leave you with an untitled poem by Franz Wright she quoted in the second article:
I basked in you;(HT to @doclake (Twitter) and the Hospice Foundation of America Blog)
I loved you, helplessly, with a boundless tongue-tied love.
And death doesn't prevent me from loving you.
in my opinion you aren't dead.
(I know dead people, and you are not dead.)