My friend, Dixie, 99 years old, is coming to the end of her life. She lives with her son and daughter-in-law who are providing hospice care for her. For the last seven years, I had lunch with Dixie and her son every week at a local restaurant. But now, she can’t leave the house or walk unassisted. She sleeps most of the day, slips in and out of awareness, and slowly, but surely her organs are shutting down. She is like a candle flame that is flickering. Yet, surrounded by loved ones in a familiar environment, she is peaceful. While not unexpected, who is ever prepared for the death of a... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
Mary feels disconnected from her husband Joe— “I just feel so alone” she says. Married for 20 years with three children, she’s going through a hard time. They love each other, but Joe is a very different person than Mary. She’s more emotional—wanting touch and affection. Joe is more likely to intellectualize his feelings. I can see that Joe feels bad about Mary’s loneliness.
They haven’t been spending much time with each other. Mary’s busy with the kids and Joe works long hours. Over time, they stopped going out as a couple. At the end of each day, they both drop into bed exhausted... Read More
My wife and I are in our second year as grandparents to two lovely girls, ages 15 and 17 months. Our daughters announced to my wife when they were teenagers that they were both going to have children at the same time and lo and behold they both became pregnant within two months of each other!
Everything that anyone tells you about the wonders of having grandchildren are all true. In fact, I told Diane that we shouldn't have waited so long to have them! We just spent a week on Cape Cod with both of our daughters, one son-in-law in tow, and both of our granddaughters, now toddlers. It... Read More
In the 1980’s, Kaiser Permanente commissioned a study to investigate the treatment of obesity. A researcher, Dr. Vincent Felitti was asked to consider all possible approaches. Obesity is associated with many serious chronic health problems. If Dr. Felitti could find a solution to this health problem, a great deal of suffering could be avoided. He decided to try a simple approach--fasting under medical supervision. Not surprisingly, many adults lost vast amounts of weight quickly. But something happened that didn't make sense to him. Many of these patients, having shed, in some cases,... Read More
I recently saw a delightful movie, “One Chance”, about a Brit, Paul Potts, who won a talent show in the early 2000’s. It’s a feel-good movie about a real person who loved to sing as a child. Growing up in Wales, he was constantly bullied and harassed by the other kids, but it didn’t deter him from singing. He struggled with misfortune and disappointment. But at the end of the day, he took a big risk and won the big prize. It’s a story about an “everyman” who doesn’t let go of his dream. Watch the movie and see the YouTube videos about him. It’s a heartwarming story.
What struck me... Read More
I’m just returning from a lovely European vacation—lots of sun, new experiences, awesome landscapes, wonderful food, and exposure to different cultures. It takes some time to decompress from work, day-to-day life, and the hurried pace of family life. But after a week or so, most of those cobwebs have cleared away. What’s left is a sense of peace and tranquility. It’s not hard to relax after a couple of weeks away from the daily treadmill. After all, the big decisions on a vacation—what to eat and where to go. No wonder I feel so good!
Fortunately, Diane and I get along very well on... Read More
School is out, and our beautiful Northwest summer is coming into focus!
For kids, school can be exciting, stimulating, but also stressful. This is especially true in grades that are big bump up’s in demand—3rd grade, 7th grade, 9th grade, 11th grade, and freshman year in college. It’s a relief when these school years come to an end, but there are always new challenges ahead.
Summer vacation is a welcome relief to these stresses and strains and an opportunity for kids to relax. Parents take a break from their school year job of being the “homework police”. Today, school is... Read More
With the recent suicides of two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom were at the peak of their fame, once again we find ourselves trying to understand one of the most mysterious causes of death—suicide. Just last month, the Center for Disease Control issued their report on the dramatic increase in suicide, particularly in middle aged white males and in females.
It’s difficult to make sense of two disparate statistics—the significant increased use of anti-depressants among teens and adults and a rising rate of suicide. According to the American Psychiatric... Read More
Recently, I came across a collection of stories about a friend of mine, who passed away in his early adulthood, including one that I wrote about our teenage years. It made me sad to think about his untimely death. He had an alcohol problem and died while drunk behind the wheel of a car. It made me reflect on my coming of age in the late 1960’s. And it made me think about young people who are coming of age today.
The 1960’s were both an exciting and a scary time. I remember watching, on our black and white TV, the new rock n roll sensation from England, perform on the Ed Sullivan... Read More