For many of those who have had to live through the tragedy of losing a loved one there are often several months of grief and sadness that survivors must endure following the death. In many situations, there is no time or space where it is appropriate to openly grieve. People are surrounded by places filled with memories and familiar smells that haunt them. Some are left with family responsibilities and must constantly appear strong so the underlying infrastructure doesn’t crumble beneath them. A few weeks after the loss of a loved one, neighbors stop bringing over meals and those more distant begin to forget. However, the loss is still very new and those more closely related to the deceased are often still only in the beginning stages of grief and attempting to piece their lives back to normal.
The last thing one might think of is taking a vacation during this time period; however, those who do, find that it is much easier to proceed in their grieving process. Those who choose to go somewhere fun, where they can take their minds off the sadness that has overwhelmed their lives, find that they don’t forget that they are grieving, but find it easier to remember the happier times with their loved one. For others, a vacation taken alone to a familiar spot may be easier, it gives the person the time and space to openly grieve and heal.
After the death of her teenage daughter to suicide, Jaletta Desmond, described how she and her husband decided to go to Las Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday only a couple of months after the tragedy. Desmond describes that “Although we were able to laugh and visit and enjoy our friends and each other, we knew jumping on a jet to Vegas wouldn’t carry us away from our grief.” However, they both found that it was refreshing to be temporarily distracted by their sadness. She believed that her experience in Vegas somehow revived her and allowed her to begin to move past the grief that she had dwelled in for so long while also allowing her to become more equipped to go back to a home filled with past memories.
To find out more on Jaletta Desmond’s journey, please click here.
Knowing exactly what to do when the time comes to make important decisions regarding the care of elderly parents is very rarely clear. There are often many difficult decisions that must be made, while still taking into consideration and respecting the wishes of the people who raised and took care of you. Joe Klein was faced with taking care of and making important medical decisions for his parents, Ensign and Miriam Klein, whose health was beginning its final decline.
This is when the health-care system came into play. At this point the Klein’s were still using health care providers provided through Medicare and Joe Klein had several questions that he wanted answers to. However, the doctors and nurses provided to the Klein’s often danced around giving the direct answers that Joe desperately sought after. Joe noticed many other deficiencies within the Medicare system: there was a lack of coordination between physicians, no screening for possible drug interactions, and patients were the main people responsible for the supervision of their overall healthcare which often caused several other medical issues. Fortunately, the Klein’s were soon transferred to Geisinger, a privately owned nursing facility, where Joe finally got the straight forward answers he had been looking for and where he was in more control of his parent’s medical treatment. His mom and dad died peacefully within six weeks of each other a few months later.
A major dilemma that Joe dealt with was whether or not he should continue medical treatment which seemed to just prolong the inevitable or if he should just accept his parent’s fate and help them pass comfortably. He felt that if the Medicare system had been more straightforward with him and was clear about the prognosis of his parents he would have not wasted the last few months of their lives attempting to prolong the inevitable by having them go through unnecessary, painful procedures. He was relieved when they were transferred to the Geisinger healthcare system because they seemed to understand what he wanted for his parents.
Although this article mostly focused on the advantages of having a privately owned cooperative type of healthcare provider, such as Geisinger, rather than the “fee-for-service Medicare” healthcare system, it strongly suggests that there is an overall need for control in the process of dying that those patients and their families seek. Joe fought for his parents to die with serenity and dignity. He felt that if he had stayed with the original Medicare plan, his parent’s death would have drawn on much longer, they would have received impersonalized care, and would have died in much more pain and with far less dignity.
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To watch Joe Klein’s Cover Story, click here.