Every adult in the English-speaking world needs to read, and use, Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan by Jane Duncan Rogers. It’s a practical, comprehensive, upbeat guide to just about everything that needs to be addressed before you die. Like many of today’s death educators, Jane Duncan Rogers came to the field because of a death in the family. Her husband Philip died in 2011, after a year of living with stomach cancer. Together they tackled answering a long … [Read more...] about “Before I Go” Book Review
We live in an era when sadness is avoided at great cost to our emotional psyches. Funerals are now celebrations of life. Even though death and loss breaks hearts, many people strive to stay positive and upbeat. “Must not cry” is the unconscious mantra of many grievers – and it’s harmful. In “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage,” a TEDWomen 2017 talk by psychologist Susan David, she explains why it’s good to embrace so-called “negative” feelings, saying: “In a survey I recently conducted … [Read more...] about Can You Actually Benefit from Experiencing Sadness?
Killing and grief are all over the news and social media this summer. From the shootings in Orlando to Dallas police officers gunned down while protecting protesters, and all the other killings we’ve seen, our grief reactions have a pattern. Immediate reactions are shock, numbness, horror, sadness, anger and tears. Then come the candlelight vigils, the public memorials with flowers, flags, candles, teddy bears and hand-drawn cards expressing love and remembrance. Grief reactions can vary … [Read more...] about How Grief and Mourning Reactions Can Vary
Estate planning attorneys can find themselves dealing with more than just legal issues when their clients have a death in the family. Here are some books to help you understand and address practical and emotional issues when it’s time to put your estate planning work to the test. On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss This book by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler is a classic text which stands the test of time. First published in 2005, … [Read more...] about End-of-Life Book Recommendations
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her groundbreaking book On Death and Dying which introduced what became known as the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages were originally based on Kübler-Ross’ years of working with dying patients but came to be applied to people who are grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing a significant loss (such as divorce, chronic illness, losing a job, etc.). Kübler-Ross’ five stages are controversial … [Read more...] about Grief: Not a Stage, But a Journey
When a loved one passes away, families find themselves under tremendous physical and emotional stress as they grieve the loss, plan the funeral, and attempt to distribute the estate equitably. It is helpful when the deceased leaves a detailed and up-to-date trust, will, and other directions such as beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance. However, in some cases, the most important items have little to no financial value. As estate planning attorneys who often deal with … [Read more...] about In the Passing of a Loved One, Little Things May Matter Most
I read the Academy’s March 26 blog post entitled How Do You Deal with Grieving Clients? and immediately wished I had a magic wand that I could wave over every estate planning attorney so that they could be prepared for every grieving client they see in their office. The truth is…. grief takes so many different forms that you can never be prepared. My perspective might be somewhat unique, and in some ways, it’s probably a worst-case scenario perspective. I do a lot of pro bono work with … [Read more...] about Every Grieving Client is Unique
What is it about our pets that make them such a part of our lives? Could it be their unconditional love for us? The fact they are there when we can’t sleep and we need someone to talk to, or when we want to get something off our chest and they are always in the mood to listen; or that they are just always there. All of us can remember the first time we saw movies like "Old Yeller," "Turner and Hooch," and "Marley and Me." Most of us would have to admit we shed a tear, even if we had to hide … [Read more...] about Saying Goodbye to My Best Friend