Our grief is unique, like a fingerprint. But we all know loss. We must do our own grief work, but benefit from the support and validation that comes from belonging to a community that acknowledges the death, honors the deceased and the relationship with the bereaved.
Giving up treatment does not mean we are abandoning hope. We can redefine and reframe hope for realistic, meaningful interventions and ways of being that can provide intimacy and authenticity at the end of life.
Hospice care offers hope, reduces fears, and supports people to live right up to their last breath. We can be prepared and design our "best death" based on our values and wishes. With the hospice philosophy and team, no one has to die alone, and no one has to grieve alone.
Men often report feeling in a “double bind” in which they are expected to “act like a man”, but judged for not sharing “like a woman”. Men feel their grief, but are more likely to manage it through activities and time alone to cognitively, rather than emotionally, process their understanding of the death.
In the 25 years I have worked as a psychotherapist and hospice worker, I have had the privilege of being at the bedside of more than 500 people as they died. They taught me that how they die matters. They taught me the attitudes, skills, and competencies so that I could be of service and make a difference. You can too.