Matters of Death and Dying


Whether we acknowledge it or not, most of us fear death. Death remains a great mystery, one of the central issues with which religion and philosophy and science have wrestled since the beginning of human history. Even though dying is a natural part of existence, American culture is unique in the extent to which death is viewed as a taboo topic.

 

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kübler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient’s family, bringing hope to all who are involved.

Grief Support Resources

  • Griefwalker (2012) by Tim Wilson T his documentary is filmed over the course of 12 years and follows a gentleman by the name of Stephen Jenkinson who is a Harvard grad as well as a palliative care counselor for families.  The film explores the questions about life and death, and what it means to embrace both for a healthy spirit. ...
  • The Grief Recovery Method The 10-Week Program will begin Tuesday, March 25th • From 6:30 to 8:30 Signature Funerals – 8019 State Line Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114 Cost $69 – please call 816-678-7998 or email coaching@jonnatemplar.com to reserve a seat The Grief Recovery Outreach Program is an 8-week class that uses the time-tested Grief Recovery Method and The Grief Recovery Handbook in a step-by-step format. The ...
  • Grief Support, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood   Next available session:  March 6- March 27.  This session can be joined at any time. For more information, please contact Fay Beasley at 913-232-4124. The Church of the Resurrection; 13720 Roe. Ave. Leawood, KS 66224.

Articles in the News

  • Cremation’s popularity is changing death’s rituals http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article41883210.html
  • Maya Angelou honored before death at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery   Oprah was present and payed tribute to Maya on this special day.  Read about it here bit.ly/1lGowjW
  • “Organ donation lets life continue through others” Originally publicized in the KC Star by Jeanne Phillips on March 11, 2014. DEAR ABBY: I work in a palliative care unit in a local hospital, and I’m all too aware of how important it is to have one’s end-of-life wishes documented, notarized and on-hand in case of an emergency. I remember reading an essay that appeared in ...
  • Feature Story on KSHB TV  Feature on KSHB // Complete Traditional Funeral Care and Cremation To be with a family in their most difficult times is an honor. Signature Funerals is based on principles of trust and compassion. We take great pride in offering personal funeral care to families in the greater Kansas City area. With funeral directors licensed in Kansas and ...
  • Life of the party: Facing death, Shannon Anaya chooses joy KC Star, April 21, 2013 NEWS Life of the party: Facing death, Shannon Anaya chooses joy April 20 BY ERIC ADLER The Kansas City Star The appointment will be routine, the young mother expects. She settles into the doctor’s office, a silver and green oxygen tank propped at her side.        TODD FEEBACKFamily and friends paid tribute to cancer patient Shannon Anaya’s life at a party in ...
  • Whom to Thank: Miss Manners published in Kansas City Star– April 9, 2013 Whom to thank DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my father-in-law’s recent wake, there was a guest book. I assumed its purpose was to give the family a record of those who attended, but my wife explained that it had the additional purpose of providing the list so that thank-you notes could be sent. This surprised me. Presumably everyone ...
  • 3 Things Everyone Should Know about Hospice Care by Janet Hessenflow, Executive Director Crossroads Hospice originally published in Living Well Magazine, Summer 2012 1.) Hospice is a philosophy of care.  It treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on quality of life.  It surrounds the patient and family with a team of professionals who not only address physical distress, but emotional and spiritual issues as well.  Hospice care provides ...
  • A Caring Presence–Volunteer program at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City A Caring Presence–Program at St. Lukes Hospital It’s a heart-breaking scenario that many families experience: Before they can get to the hospital and say goodbye, their loved one passes away. But Saint Luke’s Hospital offers some peace of mind. The “No One Dies Alone” program ensures companionship for patients at the end of their liv es. Called NODA, ...
  • Have a funeral–even if the deceased asked that you don’t. -The Rev. Douglas Taylor-Weiss reprinted from the Auburn Citizen.  September 8, 2012 People say sill things about their funerals.  We do that because we will not be the ones grieving when our time comes: others will be.  So we say things like, “Oh don’t make any fuss over me,” or, “Just have a big party in my honor!” or, “Live ...
  • A memory of kindness spawns a ministry   FAITH WALK | SARAH DEMAREST GUTHRIE, KANSAS CITY A memory of kindness spawns a ministry It was a muggy night in Virginia. Inside, my friend lay dying. The hospice nurse didn’t know how much longer. The family was coming. Outside, moths dive-bombed the porch light. The doorbell rang. I didn’t know her, but as she stood at the ...
  • The Birdhouse Project ‘Birdhouse Project’ helps cope with loss BY SARA BEANE Special to The Star DAVID EULITT Michele Shanahan-DeMoss of Independence lost her daughter, Blair Shanahan Lane, 11, who was killed when a stray bullet struck Blair in the neck on July 4, 2011. A class at the University of Kansas Edwards campus helps victims of traumatic stress to build birdhouses ...
  • NATURAL BURIAL Johnson County family designs a burial that supports feelings & pocketbooks By Steve Nicely The grandchildren of Randy and Nancy Jobe gather at the stone marking the site of Randy’s natural burial. Some months ago, Nancy Jobe attended a presentation in Kansas City. The talk was by Sally King, vice president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of ...
  • Funeral Etiquette—-Miss Manners Q DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the acceptable social response when an immediate family member of the deceased approaches you at a funeral and says, “Thank you for coming”? Do you leave it simple and say, “You’re welcome,” or something a little more heartfelt like, “This is where I want to be, supporting you and your family”? A GENTLE READER: But ...
  • A good death: Witnessing the final days of a Kansas nun BY JUDITH VALENTE I have always had a terrible fear of death. Perhaps it comes from having parents who were middle-aged when I was born and looked more like my friends’ grandparents. Grandparents had the unfortunate habit of dying. I feared my parents would do the same, leaving me bereft. As it turned out, both of them survived ...

Book Reviews

  • “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” author Anna Quindlen   As a novelist and bestseller of other works, Anna Quindlen has come up with her way of showing us how she has kept a happy, nourished life, appreciating what is important and making good works a necessity for fulfillment. She uses captivating visuals and inspirational quotes such as “No man ever said on his death ...
  • “Dream New Dreams” author, Jai Pausch Book Review  “Dream New Dreams” —Jai Pausch,   published:  May 2012   The widow of Randy Pausch who inspired thousands, with his Carnegie Mellon lecture, that became a subsequent book, “The Last Lecture”, has written her own memoir of the painful journey of his illness and her role as a wife, caregiver and mother, in the book “Dream New ...

Profiles of Healing

  • How to Cope with the Death of a Friend 8 pieces of advice to help you with this huge loss in your life. Losing a friend can be just as sorrowful as losing a close family member.  But how do we express this?  Below are some key ways to cope with the loss of a special friend in your life.  (From PBS’s Next Avenue, on ...
  • KC Chorale offers message of comfort   Ensemble closes season with a thoughtful meditation on dying There are many approaches to the concept of mortality, from John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud” to Dylan Thomas’ exhortation to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” At the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, the Kansas City Chorale presented a viewpoint of meditative introspection and ...
  • Forgiveness: Stories of Our Time “If we really want to love, we must learn to forgive”   -Mother Theresa Moving Through the Stages to Forgiveness Forgiveness: Stories of Our Time focuses on violent, sudden losses. But any loss of a loved one requires forgiveness. When a dearly loved friend or family member passes away, we often feel anger toward God, or the ...