The longest nights of the year are upon us as we slide toward the Winter Solstice this Saturday, December 21. These short days remind us that our time in the sunshine of this lifetime is limited.
Let us count our blessings, of which we have many. If you are reading this on the Internet or an electronic device, you must have electricity, a computer, tablet or smart phone, and the resources for access. That’s a lot more than the possessions of many people in this world.
We also welcome the solstice’s turning point leading back to lengthening daylight. In the “dead” of winter, our capacities may slumber, only to enjoy a new rebirth in the spring.
Tomorrow’s A Good Goodbye Radio show focuses on hospice and palliative care: what it is (and isn’t); why it’s beneficial to the family as well as the patient; who can access these services; and how hospice and palliative care have changed since these services first appeared in the 1970s.
The guest in the first half hour is Anita Brikman, Senior Vice President for Strategic Communications at NHPCO, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. In the second half of the program, the guests are Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel, co-authors of the new book, Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement. MORE INFO
Update on TV Show DVD production: The 12-episode television series A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die are finally ready as a DVD set! The completed discs are shipping from the manufacturer today.
With the holidays next week, their projected arrival is December 26 – Boxing Day. Santa is going to be just a tad delayed getting the set to those who pre-ordered. However, at long last, the TV series is coming your way.
Albuquerque Death Cafe: Seven people came out to this past Saturday’s Death Cafe, and we had an interesting, wide-ranging conversation. Read more about the discussion. A Meetup group has just been established for the Albuquerque Death Cafe. Join up through this link if you would like to be the first to know about the next one.
Top Tips from Last Week’s Show
Lee Witting, representing the International Association for Near-Death Studies, had his own near-death experience (NDE) as a child, when he drowned in a lake near Branchville, NJ. He currently works as a hospital chaplain. We had a fascinating conversation about NDEs and the change in perspective they provide on life and death. A few thoughts to consider:
- It’s estimated about 5% of the U.S. population, 15 million Americans, have had a near-death experience. NDEs happen when a person is either clinically dead, near death, or in a situation where death is likely or expected.
- Many people are afraid to discuss what they experience. Doctors may say it’s a dream or hallucination, or the family shuts out any information that doesn’t agree with their religion.
- It can be enormously helpful to a family to know what a patient wants, for medical treatment or funeral plans, before a medical crisis renders that person unable to speak for themselves.
- Remarkable stories from hospital personnel about experiences with dying patients indicate some form of life continues beyond our physical existences.
- Our bodies are not all we are, and our brains are not our consciousness.
Upcoming Radio Interviews
Upcoming A Good Goodbye Radio programs feature two re-broadcasts during the holidays.
December 25, 2013: The Conversation Project with Martha Hayward (rebroadcast of an earlier show)
January 1, 2014: Estate planning issues with attorney Jim Plitz (a rebroadcast to help start your New Year’s resolution to get your affairs in order)
January 8, 2014: Allison Copening with Seasons Funeral Planning Services
January 22, 2014: Pet hospice with Kathryn Marocchino, Ph.D., FT
January 29, 2014: The Frozen Dead Guy Days festival with event organizer Amanda MacDonald