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Grieving the Death of an Aging Parent: Part Three

After a death, caregivers wonder what's next?

When I was in my early forties a close friend was killed in a skiing accident over spring break.  Barbara’s death was the first I had experienced since the death of my father-in-law more than 20 years before.  Her loss devastated me and also taught me a few things about how grief takes us.

Roland Barthes described my first reaction when he wrote in the journal he kept after the death of his mother that “As soon as someone dies, (there is a) frenzied construction of the future (shifting furniture, etc.): futuromania.”  I remember being especially struck by this “futuromania” when Barbara died.   I found myself rushing around compulsively busy with whatever tasks had fallen to me upon her death—making calls, changing appointments, making those arrangements …

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Grieving the Death of an Aging Parent: Part Two

Since Dad, who died July 1st, had been a hospice client, Bill and I were eligible for three free sessions with a bereavement counselor.  Around the end of July we began thinking that it would be helpful to talk to someone more experienced on this journey, so we called hospice for an appointment.

We managed to get in two sessions before our compassionate, supportive counselor is laid off due to budget cuts.   It seems ironic just at this time when hospice and palliative care are so much in the news that one of our largest local hospice organizations would need to be letting staff go.

We were offered options.  We could still go back and finish our three sessions with a different counselor.  Or we might  pick up on another option, maybe a grief …

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