Late last month, I was featured on Bob Olson’s “AfterlifeTV” internet show. We spent the hour discussing Finding Peace and Meaning in Death and Bereavement. I’m flattered that the show already has nearly 3,000 views on YouTube, and I hope you might have time to take a look for yourself. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions that come up during the show!
I was privileged to be with a woman dying of leukemia, whose bone marrow transplant was unsuccessful. More painful than the weeks in the isolation unit, losing her hair, and the transplant itself was her desperate struggle to feel loved by her broken family. Throughout her short life she had been abandoned by an alcoholic mother, abused by an angry father, and humiliated by grandparents. In her last months, knowing that the transplant was unsuccessful and the leukemia kept feeding on her body, she fought her hardest battle to make peace with her family and ask for what she needed. Continue reading
Everyone carries his or her own weight of grief. We each have a different story, perhaps with a different context. But grief is universal. We all experience the death of a family member. We all lose a loved one. Death does not visit you alone. It is helpful and comforting to remember that we are not singled out. We are not victims. This death is not a personal punishment against you. Death is universal. It did not happen just to you. Continue reading
Children need help understanding illness, dying, and death.Forty percent of all children will experience at least one traumatic event before they become adults. Death, loss, and trauma are common experiences for children, but the challenge is usually not addressed until after the crisis has occurred. Let’s not give children a crash course in grief! The opportunities for growth embedded within any crises are too important to leave as after-thoughts. The ramifications to our children of not having the skills or support to deal with personal change of this magnitude are dangerous. As adults and caregivers, we need to discuss the inevitability of loss, and teach coping skills before they are needed, and during a time that is not so emotionally volatile. Children need help if they are to navigate and successfully adjust to circumstances they do not understand and for which they have not developed skills. Continue reading
Dear Dr. Lani,
I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the death of my husband. I doubt that I will be able to face the future and don’t know how to wake up in the morning without him. There are no manuals to help me get over these feelings, and I am stuck. Please help me.