A new perspective on life and death

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mike Jones
  • 507th ARW Wing Chaplain
In continuing my thoughts on Life and Death, as a hospice chaplain I have witnessed some absolutely wonderful scenes of family unity and love.

I've seen times when parents, children, siblings and spouses (even ex-spouses) all pulled together for the good of the dying family member.  That unity brought peace and closure, not only for the patient, but also for the family as well.

Unfortunately I've also witnessed some horrific scenes when family members fought about everything from how to care for the patient to controlling who would and who would not get to visit.  Little or no concern was given to the fact that all of this was played out in front of the patient who may be unable to verbalize his or her own wishes or desires.  What a tragedy.

Family relationships can be a source of deep peace or excruciating pain.  I've always known how important family was in life, but now I realize just how important family can be in the dying process and in death.  So start now to build strong family relationships.  If they are good, work to make them even better.  If there is someone in your family that you really struggle with, then make an effort (or renew your efforts) to come to some kind of peace with them.  It may be more important than you realize.

(Part 2 in a series on Life and Death)