April 10 2017
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Distancing From The Dying

Distancing From The Dying


Alicia - January 04 2018

Another way to look at Gillian’s grief is the two vastly different experiences; her father from a sudden heart attack ( not expected) and her mother’s death from vascular dementia (a long drawn-out process). Her father was an integral part of the family who was quickly taken away while her mother and her individual personality and relationship with Gillian) was slowly “stolen from her” day=by-day.
While it may be true that the numbing process which envelops Gillian at this this time may be the answer. However, I have noted in my 12+ years of hospice work as a chaplain/bereavement person that in the cases of long lasting disease process of vascular dementia and/or Alzheimer’s has slowly stolen the person (here it is Gillian’s mother) away from family members over the years. It’s not that the family goes not grieve at the end of a person’s life so much that death is “a closure” to the whole dying process. I have worked with hundreds of family members as they try to understand why “I’m not grieving right.”
The only “right way”to grieve is her way to grieve. Gillian may have for years cried every time she visited her mother and watched her mother’s dignity, memories and ultimately her life. She was grieving then. there will be grief now that death has come but it may take on a totally different aspect of what we professionals expect “grief” to look like following the death. Gillian may need that final “closure” to her grief/mourning but we professionals know she will carry the grief of her father and mother with her for the rest of her life – just in different perspectives.
On a personal note I find that I utilize many of your booklets in my work as chaplain and a bereavement counselor. Thank you for putting so much of who I say into an understandable way which reaches through my patient family’s grief and assists them in understanding what they are experiencing. I give you credit for walking with me while I walk the grief journey for a brief 13 month process.
May you continue to be blessed with your resources which assist us “in the field” and my God continue to bless you in your “ministry” and education on living and dying.
Blessed Be.

barbara karnes - September 23 2017

Hi Gillian, I am sorry to hear of the death of your mother last week. In response to your question, are you in denial. I don’t know as I don’t know you or the details of your mother’s dying. What I can say is that since it has only been a week you are just numb. You are not really feeling anything. There will come a time when that numbness begins to wear off, when you will begin actively grieving. A week is just too soon to deeply feel your loss. At some point, weeks from now, you may wonder what is happening to you -that you are sadder, less in control than  you were now right after the death—that is when real grieving kicks in.
You might find my booklet My Friend, I Care helpful in understanding grief and the emotions that go with it. 
My blessings are with you. Barbara

Gillian Campbell - September 22 2017

I lost my mom last week from vascular dementia disease. She was 79. I was very close to her, but I don’t r why I am not grieving as I did when my father passed of a sudden heart attack in 2001. Am I in denial?

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