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Publication: Dear Abby
Hospice Can Lend Support To Families Facing Grief

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            DEAR ABBY - July 7, 2008 
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HOSPICE CAN LEND SUPPORT TO FAMILIES FACING GRIEF

ABBY: "Sad Dad in Arizona" (May 2) wrote that he was 
concerned because his teenage son didn't want to attend 
his mother's funeral and preferred to remember her "the 
way she was." 

Please tell Dad to contact his local hospice. Many 
hospices provide support counseling during this difficult 
time. We assign a social worker as well as a nurse and 
chaplain to each family who comes to us. 

Hospice is here to help with everything that has an impact 
on the patient at this time. Please urge that family to 
get support now and not wait until the end. 
-- PAM, R.N., HOSPICE OF THE FLORIDA SUNCOAST

PAM: Your suggestion to seek the assistance of a local 
hospice is excellent. Readers, to locate your nearest 
hospice, please visit one of the following Web sites:
http://www.hospicenet.org. Read on: 


ABBY: I was deployed overseas when my grandfather was 
diagnosed as terminal and passed away. Due to military 
regulations, I was not allowed to return stateside and 
attend his funeral. 

The last time I saw my grandfather I hugged him goodbye 
and told him how much I loved him. (He had been like a 
father to me.) I was spared the grief involved in 
watching my grandfather buried, so I understand exactly 
where this young man is coming from in his desire to 
remember his mother alive, because that is how I remember 
my grandfather. 

Please let "Sad Dad's" son know that while a living memory 
is a wonderful final memory to have, he will wish forever
that he had been there to honor his mother. I'm in exactly 
the situation that he wishes to be in, and I would trade 
everything I have to go back and honor my family at the 
funeral. 
-- MATTHEW IN PORT GIBSON, MISS.

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ABBY: I wholeheartedly agree with your reply to "Sad Dad." 
I was 19 when my mother died suddenly. Unfortunately, our 
father was not sensitive to my feelings and needs or those 
of my siblings. We were forced to not only attend our 
mother's memorial, but also to be greeters at the door of 
the church. Participating in the service did not provide 
us "closure" but additional trauma. 

I fully support "Sad Dad" in allowing his son to decide 
whether or not he is comfortable attending, and I commend 
him for putting his child's needs before his own. 
-- STILL HEALING IN LIVINGSTON, MONT.


ABBY: Most funeral homes today will videotape the funeral. 
If the son wants to view it at a later date, it will be 
available to him. Also, encourage him to keep a journal of 
his thoughts or to write letters to his mother after she 
dies. It will help him to express his feelings. A local 
hospice may have a grief support group for youths that he 
may or may not wish to seek out. 

Encourage him, but don't push. Be sure to have lots of love 
ready for him when he needs it, and let him do it his way, 
just as you will have to grieve in your own way. 
-- ONE WHO HAS BEEN THERE IN IOWA


ABBY: The statement that "funerals are good for people 
because they give a sense of closure" has some merit. 
However, many people do not think an open casket is either 
necessary or desirable. Tradition, encouraged by an active 
"funeral industry," perpetuates the practice. 

Frankly, I prefer the living memories, and have found 
memorial services without a casket to be far warmer and 
uplifting. Do not be overly constrained by tradition; 
explore what others are doing. 
-- OLD DOC IN LOS ALTOS, CALIF.



ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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