Grief and Bereavement (cont.)
- Nothing left unsaid: The period of a terminal illness allows the opportunity for nothing to be left unsaid when death does come. There may be "issues" to be discussed for the first time. There may be expressions of thanks and gratitude that have not before been stated -- in other words, things that should have been talked about but were not.
- The perfect moment: Sometimes, we procrastinate, waiting for just the right moment. In their book Medicine as a Human Experience, Rosen and Riser write of another doctor who had to tell an 8-year-old boy that he was dying of leukemia. They quote her as saying, "Why had I waited so long, making excuses to myself that I needed the perfect moment? There is no such thing as the perfect moment. We make all our moments, and by the truth and love we bring to them, we make them perfect."
- Things to be said: For many of us, at least three things have remained unexpressed for too long a time: I love you, I forgive you, and please forgive me. Although living through the terminal illness of someone we love can be excruciatingly painful, this forced necessity to talk through things -- instead of putting them off -- is one of its blessings.
Lynn Barkley Burnett, EdD, MS, LLB
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