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Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Five Thinks About Dying and Death

The Friday Five is our weekly roundup of web links to smart articles and helpful resources addressing end-of-life issues and caregiving needs.

1. As hospice professionals, we appreciated Craig Bowron's op-ed piece in The Washington Post this week, "Our unrealistic attitudes about death, through a doctor's eyes." We as a society, and those especially in the healthcare profession, need to be more honest with ourselves. Death is a fact, a piece in a circle of life. It is not optional, and we shouldn't treat it as though it is. Just because we can prolong a heartbeat and breathing, it doesn't mean we are adding to the living. Bowron explains the reasons he thinks have changed how we as a society think about and face death, and whether or not you agree or disagree with the reasons why, it is difficult to argue with the fact that we are not good at accepting death. And, the more people who speak up and share their opinions, like Bowron's op-ed piece, the more we can open the door to conversations about what we want at the end of life.

2. and 3. Across the last few months, there have been a few Friday Fives that listed articles by L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez. His column, Matters of Life and Death, was deeply personal as he shared the story of his father's declining health and explored the end of life in this country. On Feb. 18, the L.A. Times posted, "A father's last days," a column blending Lopez's personal experience, a phone call from a hospice nurse letting him know that death was not far away, and Lopez's professional research, a meeting at Cedars-Sinai about helping families to limit suffering, and avoiding costly procedures "that extend dying more than they prolong life." On Feb. 22, the L.A. Times posted Lopez's loving obituary for his father, "To Tony Lopez, with love" and one can only believe that these conversations have played some role in advancing the end of life discussion in our country. Thank you to Steve and Tony Lopez for sharing their story.

4. For some, putting words to paper (or computer) is a great way to confront feelings of grief. You might choose to recount fond memories of events and moments from years ago, or choose to reflect on what the last few weeks were like, for you and your loved one. "The Last Dance" is one woman's account of her last day with her husband. Let it inspire you to write down your memories and to open your heart, to allow yourself the space to be with your grief.

5. Find strength, encouragement, and support among others. Casa de la Luz Hospice offers support groups to assist you in your grieving process. Learn more about grief support options at our website or call us at 520-544-9890 to speak with our bereavement department.

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