Meeting Focuses on Family Grief

By Vries, Lynette De | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 21, 1997 | Go to article overview

Meeting Focuses on Family Grief


Vries, Lynette De, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Grieving for a loved one after a terminal illness can affect people physically, emotionally, spiritually, behaviorally and cognitively, and countless factors determine our reactions to it, a panelist at the fourth annual National Bereavement TeleConference says.

Kenneth Doka, editor of Living With Grief, said, "There are no preset stages to a patient's grieving. If a patient has coped well with other crises in life, that person is more likely to cope with prolonged illness."

Baue Funeral Homes, St. Charles Memorial Gardens and 2,000 organizations in United States and Canada played host to the conference through satellite video last week. The agenda focused on bereavement issues surrounding prolonged illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. It included clips of interviews and the film "Terms of Endearment," which portrays a mother's battle with terminal illness. The conference dealt with the nature of grief and the circumstances of loss, the complications that occur when illness is prolonged and the aftermath. The panel also examined the "faces of grief," which can vary for caregivers, family, friends and the dying person. "If people have time to participate with the dying person, to say good-bye, they experience better postdeath adjustment," said Therese Rando, who offers consultation in grief, traumatic stress and the psycho-social care of the terminally ill. …

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