A personal note of reflection

A personal note of reflection

Life & Death Matters Post

Thank you for the notes, emails, thoughts, calls and concern shared since we notified you of the death of our son last month.

I was concerned that some newsletter recipients might feel that it was too personal to share, but I am such a believer in the power of community. One nurse leader/educator wrote that she was inspired by our generosity in sharing with the learning community that we have nurtured. Thank you. I believe and have experienced that when we mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, that we are all strengthened. I understand that the word “comfort” means, “with strength” or “great strength”. We have felt stronger in connection than we would in isolation. Thank you for sharing our burden.

Interesting, that same nurse educator commented on our commitment to optimizing end-of-life care. Over the years I have taught how “end-of-life care” can mean everything or nothing, where hospice and palliative care by definition include “care during bereavement.” Over the years I would say that we might first meet a family in the ER when their loved one has died, and the hospice or palliative care that we provide could be a link to bereavement services. Even in all the talk that I do about death, I did not contemplate that it would be us who would experience a sudden death, that it would be me who would need to be reminded of bereavement services. And it was a few weeks after Geordie died that I remembered,

Oh, VICTORIA HOSPICE – we should check out their services for the grandkids and for us!”

And, how incredible to phone, and make an appointment for myself, and an appointment for a grandson to see a dear colleague Allyson, a specialist with kids and grief. And in reaching out to Victoria Hospice, I also reached out to Virtual Hospice and their site for kids grief, and to Andrea Warnick and her podcasts and online support for kids and grief. If anyone is looking for a counsellor who provides online counselling, please let me know. And if you provide online bereavement counselling, please let me know and we will connect you.

For those who are interested in how we are doing, what we are thinking and feeling, please keep reading.

Ted would say that he feels at peace. Some of that peace comes from his belief in eternal life, in the feeling that Geordie is alright, and the hope that he will see him again. Some people express concern that he is “not grieving.” But he IS grieving. He is much more an instrumental griever, and is busy working in Geordie’s workshop, sorting his tools, repairing things that need repairing, building a tool kit for Geordie’s wife and one for the baby, and getting tools and boats and and… and… ready for sale. We were also thrilled to have some of Geordie’s bonus First Nation family join us for dinner last week, and basked in their presence and spirit.

As for me…. Well, I am much more a verbal processor…. And so… I have found healing in: good long walks with friends (one on one), the sharing of stories, experiences, beliefs, hopes, worries and frustrations, meals with loved ones, lying on the couch listening to segments of the recordings of the funeral and of the “Last Night on the Trail” (an evening of story and song), reading cards and emails that have arrived, and last night I wrote Geordie a nice long letter. Overall, I still feel very grateful that we had Geordie for 30 years. I am glad that he did not suffer. At times I am cross, irritated and mad that Geordie who cared for soooo many people was soooo careless with his own safety. I am confident that he learned well how to walk by faith, and love and serve openly and without judgement – perhaps the most important lessons in life. On a practical level, I wonder how things work in the world of spirits, and what he is up to now. I am open to your thoughts if you want to connect with me and share.

I just wrote a Facebook post about social hibernation – and would love to hear your thoughts. That will be added to the blogpost soon.

It is amazing to me to think of the “learning community” that we are blessed to be part of, across Canada, the US and Mexico. Ted and I thank you so much for your words, wishes, hopes and happiness. Please let me know what you do and do not want to hear about in this personal/professional space. I am happy to hear any feedback and advice, happy to have your questions and your comments.

Until next month,

Kath and Ted

4 Responses

  1. Dear, dear Kath,
    I am so very sorry to read about the death of your son, Geordie. Somehow I mised it until this morning when I opened my email and began reading your blog. So I know nothing about the circumstances or time or anything else. I can only imagine the shock and pain that it must have brought to you and Ted and all your clan. I also imagine the surround of love and concern that enveloped you to hold you up and carry the load with you.
    Virtual hugs in abundance.


  2. Dear Kath,
    I am so sorry to hear about your son’s death. I get behind in all my e mails and did not see your newsletter or message. My heart goes out to you and your family at this incredibly difficult time in your lives. You ask about people’s connections with spirits who have passed. You may remember my mentioning that during my cancer experience I was surrounded by “people from the other side” . I wasn’t sure who they were, beyond family and friends. One day at church the priest mentioned that his understanding of the Communion of Saints was from Les Miz when Jean Val Jean was dying and he was surrounded by those he had known in this life who had passed. I realized that I was being accompanied by the patients I had worked with who had died and those whose bereft relatives I worked with. Through reading Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton I have come to a deeper understanding of the soul groups we come back to life with and how we continue to learn from one another. I now believe that with many of the people I am seeing in the “liminal spaces” that we have agreed to come here to learn together, and we are part of a soul group exploring these experiences together. I feel I did the work I did, then the souls of those who had died came to teach me that they were with me and that they continued in another realm. Now I feel that I am exploring this in more depth with the people I am working with who are facing illness, death and bereavement, feeling perhaps we are part of soul groups who are here to learn together. May you find love and comfort in your grief.
    Mary V

  3. Thank you for letting us see a tiny bit into your soul and experience Kath, we miss you and are nourished by this

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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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