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Barbara Karnes

Keep No Secrets From Those at End of Life

I hear “don’t tell mom” way too frequently. Mom has a life threatening illness or may even be showing signs of approaching death and her family says to me as I walk in the door, “don’t tell mom.”  They  want to protect her. They don’t want to worry her or scare her. SO everyone is […]

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“I’m Fine,” The Universal Response From Grievers

In response to “how are you,” “I’m fine” seems to be a universal reply from people suffering. This suffering can be the result of pain, grief, illness, family upheaval, or any other major distress a person is experiencing. Well, my mother would have told you everything and more than you’d ever want to know in response […]

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None of Us Really Knows When Death Will Come

There is no “if” in dying – only “when.” Yet we act like (and/or pretend) we will live forever. We make no advance directive and assign no power of attorney or durable medical power of attorney. We don’t tell others our thoughts or wants regarding the ending of our lives. We don’t prepare others close […]

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The Maps We Need to Care For the Dying

“You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.” ~Albert Einstein       Taking care of someone at end of life is different from taking care of someone who is going to get better. The challenge is that most people, including healthcare professionals, don’t know this. Most use “old maps to explore this […]

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Adjusting After Our Person Has Died

We think of grief as mourning, of our emotional reaction to a loss. The tears, the “I miss her so much,” the sadness she is no longer with you. Grief is sadness. For some, it may be a relief that someone or something is no longer a part of our life.  We don’t just grieve […]

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Tomorrow I Will Make my Wishes Known, but not Today

We talk about a Durable Medical Power of Attorney and how important it is to make our end of life wishes known. If we don’t legally make our wishes known in writing and generally notarized, healthcare professionals will make those decisions for us.  Those decisions will be to try to start our heart when it […]

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Six Months After My Husband Died

It has been almost six months since my husband of 62 years died. As an end of life educator I have taught about loss and grief, and even written a booklet about it. BUT what I didn’t really understand were the emotional thoughts and feelings of grief. I couldn’t and didn’t understand because I had […]

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