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I want to put this out there...

I work in a field where I often care for people who I see almost as much as my own family.  Some of these people, I work with for years... then they die.  Some of them I work with for only months, or even days.  Most often though, at least a year.  Strange thing is.. it doesn't bother me.  I see it as a fact of life. I comfort them when they're dying, provide palliative care etc; and I feel bad for family members, but even then, sometimes I don't. I rationalize it for what it is, disease process, etc;  Even recently (within last 7 years) when my own family members died, I didn't shed a tear. I rationalized it (ie; they had Parkinsons, cancer, heart attack, "it happens", "it was their time").  I am a very caring and emotional person though.  Does anyone find this strange?  Has my professionalism made me apathetic to death? Or am I just being a realist?  What do you guys think?

Does anyone else here work in a field where they care for people dying or see lots of death?

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Hmm, that's interesting. I have never worked in palliative care so I can't speak on the behalf of those who have, but I do have an almost complete reversal of what you described with exception to myself. I do not fear my own death, but I do everyone else who I care about. For myself, I envision death as being equivalent to a deep, dreamless sleep wherein you are unaware of all that surrounds you and cannot even process your own consciousness. Because of the way I view death I am not left with anxiety towards my own, but rather just those around me. I don't know how to cope with loss of the individuals I care about thinking that they simply slip away into nothingness. For those I did not ever know I simply see it as a fact of life, same goes for animals. It eventually happens, so why not desensitize yourself to it? As long as in doing so you can continue to be a kind, loving person I fail to see it as a problem. My mother used to work at a Hospice where she helped my friend's father pass, and to her that was the death that stung the most. Other ones to her were all sad, but she also saw both sides to it where the ones who had died no longer had to suffer or worry.

 

I hope my rambling made sense haha

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On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 7:58 PM, Sly Botts said:

I want to put this out there...

I work in a field where I often care for people who I see almost as much as my own family.  Some of these people, I work with for years... then they die.  Some of them I work with for only months, or even days.  Most often though, at least a year.  Strange thing is.. it doesn't bother me.  I see it as a fact of life. I comfort them when they're dying, provide palliative care etc; and I feel bad for family members, but even then, sometimes I don't. I rationalize it for what it is, disease process, etc;  Even recently (within last 7 years) when my own family members died, I didn't shed a tear. I rationalized it (ie; they had Parkinsons, cancer, heart attack, "it happens", "it was their time").  I am a very caring and emotional person though.  Does anyone find this strange?  Has my professionalism made me apathetic to death? Or am I just being a realist?  What do you guys think?

Does anyone else here work in a field where they care for people dying or see lots of death?

This is a very tricky and personal issue.  I wonder if you are concerned that you are not feeling the deaths of those around you more acutely?  I feel this is an important question that can't be simply answered as this can shift and change over time. 

I have known many a person who has worked in the health care field and found themselves emotionally distanced by all of the tough stuff they face:  deaths, traumatic accidents, assaults, etc; who then, at the end of their careers, or when their own lives take an unexpected shift, find themselves feeling a backlog of all that they have witnessed.  I have also met and worked with people who have a very profound sense of spirituality that allows them to process their emotions without getting emotionally involved.  I don't know what the right answer is in general, and certainly not for anyone else. 

I have found that in my personal life, I am quite able to separate myself from what other people are dealing with, and own only that which is mine; emotionally speaking.  I lost a parent and two grandparents in the span of 18months, almost losing my other parent within that timeframe as well.  I no longer have a fear of death myself, due to these events and have developed a strong sense of spirituality over the ensuing years.  This helps me to feel the emotions that arise from the death of someone in my circle, without the death impacting me so acutely that I have trouble moving forward...so far, at least; life surprises me on a regular basis and it's possible that this would not be true were one of my core loved ones to die. 

Despite this distance I have from the acute effects of death, I do feel grief, loss, sadness, pain, joy, fear, discontent, shame, disquiet, curiosity, fatigue, energy, and so much love for my life, among other emotions.  I try to stay away from tagging emotions with labels like "positive" and "negative" and think on them as important pieces to expressing myself authentically.  I try to celebrate every moment, large and small.  This, I think, is what allows me to keep waking up and moving forward each day with a smile on my face...a real smile; a beat in my feet, a song in my heart. 

Perhaps this sounds too shiny for some.  I think that if we are looking within ourselves and allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel, then we don't need to worry about what the world is telling us about how we should feel.  We'll feel what we need to, when we need to feel it.  That said, if you're wondering if there are emotions underlying your professional demeanor, then it might be worthwhile to dive a little deeper.  You'll know when the time is right to do so: it will be a non-negotiable and you'll also see clearly how you want to move forward.  Allow yourself to be surprised, and enjoy the ride:  that's what life is all about!

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20 hours ago, Mira Aleta said:

This is a very tricky and personal issue.  I wonder if you are concerned that you are not feeling the deaths of those around you more acutely?  I feel this is an important question that can't be simply answered as this can shift and change over time. 

I have known many a person who has worked in the health care field and found themselves emotionally distanced by all of the tough stuff they face:  deaths, traumatic accidents, assaults, etc; who then, at the end of their careers, or when their own lives take an unexpected shift, find themselves feeling a backlog of all that they have witnessed.  I have also met and worked with people who have a very profound sense of spirituality that allows them to process their emotions without getting emotionally involved.  I don't know what the right answer is in general, and certainly not for anyone else. 

I have found that in my personal life, I am quite able to separate myself from what other people are dealing with, and own only that which is mine; emotionally speaking.  I lost a parent and two grandparents in the span of 18months, almost losing my other parent within that timeframe as well.  I no longer have a fear of death myself, due to these events and have developed a strong sense of spirituality over the ensuing years.  This helps me to feel the emotions that arise from the death of someone in my circle, without the death impacting me so acutely that I have trouble moving forward...so far, at least; life surprises me on a regular basis and it's possible that this would not be true were one of my core loved ones to die. 

Despite this distance I have from the acute effects of death, I do feel grief, loss, sadness, pain, joy, fear, discontent, shame, disquiet, curiosity, fatigue, energy, and so much love for my life, among other emotions.  I try to stay away from tagging emotions with labels like "positive" and "negative" and think on them as important pieces to expressing myself authentically.  I try to celebrate every moment, large and small.  This, I think, is what allows me to keep waking up and moving forward each day with a smile on my face...a real smile; a beat in my feet, a song in my heart. 

Perhaps this sounds too shiny for some.  I think that if we are looking within ourselves and allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel, then we don't need to worry about what the world is telling us about how we should feel.  We'll feel what we need to, when we need to feel it.  That said, if you're wondering if there are emotions underlying your professional demeanor, then it might be worthwhile to dive a little deeper.  You'll know when the time is right to do so: it will be a non-negotiable and you'll also see clearly how you want to move forward.  Allow yourself to be surprised, and enjoy the ride:  that's what life is all about!

I have given this some thought, and really, after reading what you've posted, feel that I deal with things in a similar way.  Given what you've said, I think I am very similar. 

I look at it this way.  Life is suffering, bad things happen to everyone. Things can be good now (enjoy things when they are good) but something bad will eventually happen at some point, (ie; parents get sick, kids get cancer or dog dies or whatever) and I think I've accepted that.  I don't think I'm ignoring emotions or anything, more so like you said, I think I am just able to separate myself from what other people are dealing with, which really is a required skill in healthcare.  I see it as an honour to provide care to people who are dying.  It makes me feel good to provide good care to people in one of the most important events in their lives.

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On July 8, 2018 at 3:38 PM, Sly Botts said:

I have given this some thought, and really, after reading what you've posted, feel that I deal with things in a similar way.  Given what you've said, I think I am very similar. 

I look at it this way.  Life is suffering, bad things happen to everyone. Things can be good now (enjoy things when they are good) but something bad will eventually happen at some point, (ie; parents get sick, kids get cancer or dog dies or whatever) and I think I've accepted that.  I don't think I'm ignoring emotions or anything, more so like you said, I think I am just able to separate myself from what other people are dealing with, which really is a required skill in healthcare.  I see it as an honour to provide care to people who are dying.  It makes me feel good to provide good care to people in one of the most important events in their lives.

To me, this sounds peaceful AF. And mature. 

The fact that you seem to express a sort of guilt for not feeling more, I think, is completely natural. You are affable and responsive and able to be empathetic without being too attached. That makes you good at your job. From the sounds of it, we need more of folks like you around the healthcare system. 

Edited by andydanger85
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3 hours ago, andydanger85 said:

To me, this sounds peaceful AF. And mature. 

The fact that you seem to express a sort of guilt for not feeling more, I think, is completely natural. You are affable and responsive and able to be empathetic without being too attached. That makes you good at your job. From the sounds of it, we need more of folks like you around the healthcare system. 

Thanks brother. Kind of you to say.

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On 7/8/2018 at 3:38 PM, Sly Botts said:

I have given this some thought, and really, after reading what you've posted, feel that I deal with things in a similar way.  Given what you've said, I think I am very similar. 

I look at it this way.  Life is suffering, bad things happen to everyone. Things can be good now (enjoy things when they are good) but something bad will eventually happen at some point, (ie; parents get sick, kids get cancer or dog dies or whatever) and I think I've accepted that.  I don't think I'm ignoring emotions or anything, more so like you said, I think I am just able to separate myself from what other people are dealing with, which really is a required skill in healthcare.  I see it as an honour to provide care to people who are dying.  It makes me feel good to provide good care to people in one of the most important events in their lives.

I’m so happy to hear that! End of life care is incredibly important and misunderstood. While the experiences you have must be tough, I would guess that there is also much beauty attached to your work. I work in mental health care, with much focus on suicide.  I talk about death all the time and find at least as much positive, as negative, though this is not the same as what you deal with day in and day out.

Have you seen BJ Miller’s Ted Talk? It is my all time favourite Ted Talk, knocking both Brene Brown and Amanda Palmer off their long held positions at the top of my list. If not, here it is:

 

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My son died yesterday. I got to be with him when he was palliative. He was 9, his name was Henry. Poor guy had brain cancer. It all happened in a span of 3 days. He was a sweet boy. 

henry.jpg

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I'm so sorry for your loss man. Take care.

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13 minutes ago, Sly Botts said:

My son died yesterday. I got to be with him when he was palliative. He was 9, his name was Henry. Poor guy had brain cancer. It all happened in a span of 3 days. He was a sweet boy. 

having a young boy myself, I cant even imagine what you and your family are going through... condolences man

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My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your child. You'll be in my thoughts. Take care.

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Jesus man, I'm so sorry to hear.  My condolences to you and your family. 

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Here's some photo's of him throughout his childhood.

Oh yes and I forgot to mention...  when Chaotic Neutral came out and I listened to it in the Van,  he loved "Army of Lions" and would ask me to play it if I was listening to Matthew Good while driving.   So now that song will always remind of him.

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My condolences; thank you for sharing these memories of your boy. He looked darling and full of fun & laughter. It's beautiful to remember him this way <3

 

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We had a celebration of life gathering for him on Wednesday. The whole community, friends, co-workers and family came out.  Hundreds of people came and went. It was nice.
Here is the Eulogy and speech I wrote for him (forgive the grammar mistakes):

Henry was my only son.  I wasn’t as close to him as he was with his mother.  We didn’t have the same kind of relationship.  However, I could see as he was getting older, that he was starting to show interest in spending time with me.  Just a few weeks ago I began teaching him how to play Chess.  He loved it, and I could see it was something he could accel at. We did spend lots of time together, over the years, playing video games, watching movies, going to the Sault etc; but he had his own interests, and he had his own routine that he liked to follow. I took him fishing for the first time the summer before last. He really enjoyed that, (we went a few times) and he would often ask me when we were going to go again.  “Next summer son...”  I told him. He was really looking forward to it, and so was I.  

 

It’s only been over the past year that I’ve really come to understand my son. Why he liked the things he liked, why he did the things he did, the way he did them, and how he did them.  I was hard on him for a long time.  I wanted my son to be a responsible adult when he grew up and I had high standards for discipline and behavior.  But most importantly, I wanted my son to know that Jesus was his Lord and Savior.  It was often a struggle for me, to communicate with my son.   My wife understood him better than I, and tried very hard to help me understand him.  I was bull headed and stubborn and it took a long time.  I wasn’t good at bending.  Eventually though, I came to understand him better, but I give my wife all of the credit.  Henry’s death was very sudden and unexpected. His illness came out of nowhere.  My wife stayed with him the whole time, keeping his spirits up, encouraging him and keeping him from being afraid.  She stayed with him until the very end. She was strong for him.  I will always remember that for the rest of my life.  There was a point during this process where Henry asked my wife “Mom, am I going to die?”  and she responded “You might die, but the doctors are going to do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t happen, but if you do, you know where you are going, so you don’t have to be afraid." 

 

Psalm 139:13-16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

 

See.. God knew what Henry was going to be like before he was born. God knew what kind of mother and father he needed to help him through life and death.  God chose my wife and I to be his parents, and we were very blessed.  God laid everything out before us and took care of us. He took care of Henry and our family during this most difficult of times, and he continues too.  Henry knew where he was going.  I take great comfort in knowing that the last face he saw before going to sleep was his mother, and the next face he saw was Jesus Christ. 

 

I want to thank everyone for their support over the past few weeks. We are very grateful for everything everyone has done for us and for the prayers. We know you loved our Henry.  Most importantly, I want to thank God for helping us, for being there for my only son Henry.  He knows how I feel, because he lost a son once too.

 

 

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So sorry to hear this.  Prayers to you and your family.

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Beautiful words from a loving father. May God continue to walk alongside you in your journey and bless you and your family during this time of grief. 

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I'm so sorry to read that Mike, but very happy to read Jesus was his personal Saviour and your faith is very uplifting and encouraging.  Beautiful words and I would like to pray for your family.  Death is so sad for loved ones but can be a beautiful thing when you have repented and trusted Christ alone to save you from your sins.

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My sister-in-law Jessica Allossery (who is a musician) put together a tribute video for my son, featuring her new single "Happy Place" at the 10:38 mark.
 

 

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