by Linda J. Austin


I'm beginning with an email and then an article which The Program in the Medical Encounter and Palliative Care has graciously allowed me to reprint. The article speaks mainly to professional caregivers but I think there are insights for the family caregiver in this also. Bless you all for the work you do. Give yourself a hug and email me with thoughts and suggestions.


Dear Linda, I have been subscribed to your news letter for some time and find that the support given in these words reaffirms my faith in people and the divine. I work for social services in London and work with adults with physical disabilities and sensory impairment. Quite recently we have had an increase in the number of terminal clients attending our day centre. I would like to respond to what I felt when I read Martha's comments on what we need to do as 'Christians' when working with people who are dying.

I fully believe that everyone has the right to express and feel how they do. However I feel sadness in my heart when I feel the divide that people put up between us, believing in God or not, being Christian or Buddist or Methodist, Muslim, Catholic etc. Black or white. The religious divide is what seperates us from God and prevents us from supporting people in their last days if they have a different faith and belief to ours or if they don't have any faith at all.

When we create these barriers between us and segregate others 'not like us' we prevent ourselves from recognising and healing the real issues. When we drop our labels, and masks of who we project ourselves to be, and start to include EVERYONE,we can truely be ONE family. To be connected to GOD, everyone and everything in existence. Belief in relgions or differences will melt away in the heart of Love, which is what we all strive towards in the end. Support your fellow Humans with the presence of Love and an open heart, allow them to express themselves and their opinions without worrying about their end journey from this life.

Thank you for allowing me to share my feelings as others choose to do the same. Love and Light to you all. Lisa

I. Questions for getting started (from Billings and Stoeckle)

A. What is your understanding of your illness?

How did your illness begin?

What is happening now?

What do the doctors say? Your family?

What do you make of it?

What are your expectations and concerns about the future?

B. What has this illness been like for you?

How has it affected you physically? Emotionally?

What has been most difficult about this illness?

Have you been sad? Frightened?

What have been the surprises for you about this illness?

When you think about the next few weeks or months, what are some of the concerns that come to your mind first? What things concern you more than others?

C. How have you been helped?

What gives you strength?


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