The Heart of a Pastor

By Stacey Grossman | PAS•TOR - late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French pastour, from Latin pastor 'shepherd', from past- 'fed, grazed', from the verb pascere.

How Social Isolation Is Killing Us

My patient and I both knew he was dying.<p>Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone I should call? Someone he wanted to see?<p>Not a one, he told me. No immediate family. No close friends. He …

Psychology

What It Feels Like to Die

Science is just beginning to understand the experience of life’s end.<p>“Do you want to know what will happen as your body starts shutting down?”<p>My mother and I sat across from the hospice nurse in my parents’ Colorado home. It was 2005, and my mother had reached the end of treatments for metastatic …

Mind

Easing the Transition from One Life to the Next

The following post is adapted from DEATH AND LETTING GO (Montague Press) by Ellen Tadd.<p>Death is an inevitable fate that everyone must face. Still, the topic of death is often avoided or denied because of fears and misunderstandings about what death actually is. When we recognize death as a …

Spirituality

All You Need, You Already Have

By Leo BabautaThere is a famous stone water basin (or “tsukubai”) outside of the even more famous Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, with four characters that …

Spirituality

Stifled Grief: How the West Has It Wrong

After nearly seven years of personal experience surrounding loss, I can tell who is going to read, share and comment on this article and it's not necessarily the audience I've intended. Those who have walked the horrific road of loss will shake their collective heads "Yes" at many of my points …

Emotions

Along the Edges of Faith: The Many Sectors of American Chaplains

(Marice Cohn Band/Miami Herald/Getty Images) Chaplain Patricia Wilson works at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, and as a reservist she …

Religion

A Matter of Death and Life

At The Harley School in Rochester, New York, senior-year students who sign up for hospice class learn to care for people who are dying. These are …

Compassion

We’re lucky if we get to be old, physician and professor believes

“I have a confession to make,” Bill Thomas announced several months ago at a conference on aging in Oregon. “I am an old man.”<p>“No, you’re not!” an audience member called out. It was meant, no doubt, as a compliment: Despite his gray-streaked beard and crow’s feet, the 56-year-old …

Old Age

Doctors are waiting too long to tell patients death is near

Endnotes<p>Patients aren’t told that death is near until too late. We can do better<p>T<p>he elderly man couldn’t breathe and he didn’t know why.<p>He wore an …

Health Care

Why Humans Care for the Bodies of the Dead

In tracing the history and culture of corpses, a new book shows the importance of remembrance to our species.<p>The ancient Greek Cynic philosopher Diogenes was extreme in a lot of ways. He deliberately lived on the street, and, in accordance with his teachings that people should not be embarrassed to …

Dystopia

Hearing, and Listening

My friend Stanley refused to let me come see him die. “Please, no,” he said. “I have to confront this on my own.”<p>I lived only about 25 miles away, so I could easily have driven to his home. But he had cancer now, at age 87, and soon would enter hospice care. “Are you sure?” I asked. “Yes,” he …

Compassion

A nurse by herself. At the end of a life.

I softly scrub blood from the teeth of a man who died moments ago. From the chair where I sat quietly writing nursing notes while he quietly ended, …

Health Care

A Word of Encouragement to Pastors During Pastor Appreciation Month

I came into ministry later in life after over 20 years in the business world. Maybe this explains some of why I was surprised when I entered the …

Faith

This Is How You Feed A Dying Person

My mother likes to say that all children need at least one person in their life who thinks that they are absolutely wonderful and can do no wrong. My grandma Daisy, my father's mother, was that person for me. Each summer I anticipated our vacation trips to the East Coast, where my more expensive …

Health

The Rituals of Modern Death

Before I was an intern standing in the middle of the night over a pale, motionless woman about to certify her death, I had a very different vision of what a person’s final moment would be like. Like many young people, my exposure to death was confined to stories others had told me or depictions of …

Health Care

The Interspiritual Revolution

<i>“We must all achieve our identity on the basis of a radical authenticity… [for] it is only in the real world of the person – neither singular nor</i> …

Spirituality

Can Connection Save Us?

We're not imagining it: We really are losing our connections to each other.<p>It's a huge problem. In fact, it's <b>life-threatening</b>.<p>A recent<p><i>Wall Street Journal</i> articlediscussed the Brigham Young University study that found that <i>social isolation increases our risk of death by 32 percent</i>.<p>Duke University and …

University of Arizona

Daily Life of an Anglican Priest

The Day to Day Life of an Anglican Parish Priest<p>First, let’s get the jokes over with:<p>“Great job!” says the friendly humorist, “You priests only have …

Religion

Hospitals work on allowing patients to actually sleep

It's a common complaint — if you spend a night in the hospital, you probably won't get much sleep. There's the noise. There's the bright fluorescent hallway light. And there's the unending barrage of nighttime interruptions: vitals checks, medication administration, blood draws and the rest.<p>Peter …

Health Care