Terminal Illness

Facing and grieving the loss of one’s own life.

Yes, you have always known you were going to die but because you didn’t know the exact time you could ignore the eventuality. Then what once only happened to others becomes personal, and you are forced to develop a new relationship with yourself.

After the shock subsides you start to grieve the loss of your own life. Simultaneously you consider how you are going to approach loved ones and friends. If you are like most people you don’t know how to begin – but begin you must if you want to make peace with others and yourself.  If you refuse to discuss your life and death with those close to you, everyone’s spontaneity fades and relationships falter.

Joan Halifax (Being with Dying, 2008) refers to having a strong back and a soft front when confronted with death. With a strong back you move into your discomfort, and with a soft front you listen to and speak from your heart. When this happens spontaneity, sincerity, and physical affection return and can be maintained.

Would you rather walk and talk with me? Nature is a very healing environment in which to open up and think clearly. Does it appeal to you to share your concerns while walking with me, side by side and looking ahead? We can walk in a community park or take your favorite walking path. If you don’t care to walk, you might want to choose a favorite place to sit and talk, maybe in your backyard. If this sounds like something you might enjoy, let’s do it.

Taking Care of the Entire Family

Each relationship within a family is unique. With thoughtful guidance all involved can gain a sense of purpose. The dying member can learn to comfortably communicate his/her end of life goals, and each family member/close friend can speak to their own needs while simultaneously loving and supporting each other.

One-on-one counseling is usually available at the treating medical center, but there is seldom any counseling offered to the family unit as a whole. It would be a privilege to work with you and your family during the critical window that exists after a terminal diagnosis and prior to the onset of debilitating illness. Together we can hold the space necessary to resolve fears, doubts, resentments and prior disputes so that a rich dialogue can emerge.