Category Archives: End of Life

What is a good death?

The definition of a good death is definitely individual, and this article features the decisions of a woman who bravely faced her death with a clear understanding of what a good death means to her, and had the foresight to communicate her wishes to her children.

Read more here:
http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424127887324577304579054880302791624-lMyQjAxMTA0MDAwNDEwNDQyWj

The importance of culture at the end-of-life

This is an interesting article about how people have different cultural perspectives about a death, talking about the “silver-brown tsunami” that is too often overlooked in the health care system.

Read more here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/04/different-cultures-bring-own-values-to-end-of-life-journeys/8674637/

What to do with Mom & Dad

This is a video series on ABC news that talks about issues surrounding elder care. This particular video is an introduction, but the whole series is available online. Interesting discussion about the implications of the silver tsunami.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/ElderCare/

Why You Won’t Be Seeing My Makeup-Free Selfie

PhDaisy

IMG_0096 Dad’s selfie taken a month before his diagnosis

This is my makeup free selfie. No, I don’t need to wax my upper-lip – I did that last week, actually. The person in the selfie is my dad, Julian Raphael. He died on December 4th, 2013 of pancreatic cancer.

I was nominated to share a #nomakeupselfie on facebook in order to raise awareness about cancer. Initially I thought, “I have no idea what this has to do with cancer, but why not?” I’m not ashamed of my makeup-free face. I used to be. From the ages of about 15 to 25 I was afraid to leave the house without it. Now, however, I have come to really love my face without makeup – zits and all – and I would be pretty proud to show off how pretty my makeup free face is. With the right lighting, hairstyle and camera angle…

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Air: Capturing a Woman’s Final Days

Dignity therapy at its finest.

Jess Dewes

On January 30th, 2014, a woman walked into my photography studio carrying a tote bag full of oxygen tanks and jewelry. She smiled at me from under the hose that disappeared into her nostrils and I fell for her instantly.

On film, first meeting, 1/30/14.

A few months prior to the day Julie VonderHaar came to my studio for a portrait, I was invited to be part of a group photography show at a gallery called SOHA in South St. Louis, MO.  I was informed that the theme of the exhibit was simply AIR. Each photographer (8 total) was to interpret the theme however they liked and create something for the show. As a businessperson, exhibiting in shows like this is rarely lucrative, but the artist in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to stretch a bit beyond my work portfolio of baby portraits, corporate head shots, and wedding documentation.

I knew…

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R.I.P, Mom

A touching story of a son’s thoughts on his mother’s last days.

Smoke Signals

One day, I had a call from mom.

It was one of those routine calls she used to make to my wife and I, more as a means of reaching out than because she had some news of import to convey – the telephone line as umbilical cord.

So she would call and ramble on about my eating habits and smoking and how the neighbor was remodeling his home and the dust was settling in thick layers all over our home as a result and about the other neighbor whose daughter, based in the US, was pregnant, and…

I listened patiently to those stream-of-consciousness chronicles of the mundane ticks of her time because I knew she was, in her own way, trying to make up for lost time. Through a torrent of words, she was trying to make up for the grim silences of the past.

So that day, she…

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Eldercare: The Forgotten Feminist Issue

In an age where more women are engaged in the workforce, who will fill the roles that women are leaving? This article raises some important questions.

hoodfeminism

(This was written late last year; I pitched it a few places but received little interest. I’m posting it here because, well, it’s an important conversation.)

One of my favorite pictures of my mom. Mom, back in the day.

As I write this my mother is fast asleep in a nursing home, her third stint in 15 months. It is a heartbreaking thing, watching your parent slowly succumb to her mortality. You try to prepare yourself for the call you’ll get in the middle of the night from a nurse reluctant to give you the news you’ve been dreading for years. But no amount of preparation will ready you for that call. No amount of alcohol will lessen the pain. Even writing about it is hard because it forces you to deal with an absolute, inescapable truth. She is dying, and you are powerless to stop it.

The woman I now visit several times a week is not…

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