religion/spirituality


Fathers, Sons, and Books

In November, 2012, I wrote a post about my mother’s hospice care. Mom died peacefully on January 6, 2013 at the age of 93. This post is about my father. Over the past three weeks I have spent more “quality time” with my father than ever before. We have had a lot to review about […]

Will guilt keep me from doing what is best for my Alzheimer spouse?

I met Vickie in Your Father’s Mustache, a sing-along place in Greenwich Village 46 years ago.  She had long dark hair and wore a poncho like Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars. She was singing and swaying with such joy. She had the kind of face you could look at the rest of your life.  […]

Surrender at the End of Life

First, the problem “Do not go gentle into that good night… Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” So wrote the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Working intensively over the past seven years in end-of-life care, I have often seen this attitude as a response by good people to the bad things that are happening […]

Seamus Heaney

Learning, today, of the death of Seamus Heaney, I first thought of his magnificent essay  contrasting two views of dying, “Joy or Night: Last Things in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats and Philip Larkin,” in his 1995 volume The Redress of Poetry.  Heaney speaks of Larkin’s stark poem “Aubade” as “treating as mystification any […]

Two Zorbas on Aging

Summer reading recommendations are a feature of many publications. I have two for readers of Over65. For some reason, I didn’t read the novel Zorba the Greek when I was younger. Nor did I see the popular movie or musical based on the book. Fortunately, our book club chose it recently. In retrospect, perhaps it […]

Living Will, Dying Well

I glanced at the chart. New patient, female, age 72. I have adopted the practice with new patients of quickly scanning the medication list before opening the door to greet them. In the old days patients hand wrote their medications on a paper intake form prior to the office visit. Now I click the “medications” […]

A Lesson in How to Die and How to Live

In the summer of 2005, my mother was 82 and had been in frail health for a while. Angina, hypertension, and chronic congestive heart failure were under control following an aortic valve replacement six years previously. Upon her return to Boston from a trip to New York for our daughter’s wedding, we noticed that her […]