Asked and Answered


    Emotions and Spirituality

    Our concern and love for our family members does not end with their deaths. Unless we had unresolved issues with them, we want them to be happy and content. We may feel especially concerned about family members who had difficult lives or a hard time in dying. We hope that in death they will have the peace and happiness they could not find... read more...
    It’s normal for people to feel a range of emotions when they’re told their illness is progressing and death isn’t far. Commonly people say they feel numb, sad, helpless, disappointed, angry or afraid. Family members often report similar reactions. There really are no specific words to alleviate the stress of the situation, but there’s a lot... read more...
    Waiting can add stress to an already uncertain situation. Some people say that waiting for health and treatment information is one of the most stressful aspects of being ill. There’s the frustration of waiting, and for some people there’s also fear of what the test results may be. The waiting period can be equally difficult for family and... read more...
    It’s normal to feel lost and confused when you first get news that someone close to you has a terminal illness. You may feel all kinds of emotions and not be able to control them. The first task is to digest the news and make sense of it. It’s difficult and it takes time. Stop and reflect, think about your questions, and look for information... read more...
    Most of us struggle with the fact that life ends in death. When a family member dies or when we think about our own death, the mystery of death touches us personally. We may feel anxious about the way death cuts us off from people we love and care about. We may be frustrated or disappointed by how little solid evidence there is about what... read more...
    As your father’s health deteriorates, it may get harder to maintain the hopes that he and your family had when he first became ill. You may find it impossible to feel positive when symptoms persist, when new symptoms appear, when treatments don’t bring the results you wish for, or when physical well-being declines. Indeed, at times you may... read more...
    This response is based on what we have learned from people who have gone down the road you are on now. Some things will fit for you and some things won't. The most important thing, in our view, is to know that there is no one right way to cope. The news that someone has less than a year to live can be overwhelming for the person who is told... read more...
    Speaking at a memorial service is an honour. It gives you the privilege of paying respect to the person who has died, and of helping those who have gathered for the event. Speaking at your father's funeral is a special way of honouring him and the relationship you had with him. Your public mourning could be a significant healing step for you... read more...
    A memorial service can be a very helpful way for families, their neighbours and friends to mourn. It gives people an opportunity to express their grief; remember and honour the person who has died; experience a supportive community in the face of loss; consider the meaning of life and death within the web of life. Planning a memorial service... read more...
    A life-limiting illness is one of life’s most stressful experiences imaginable. The person who is ill may feel nobody can really understand what he is going through even when friends or family are trying to support him. Family and friends may feel frustrated that their efforts to care are not more appreciated. Ultimately you cannot control... read more...
    It’s hard to face the thought of losing someone you love. Being far away makes it even harder. First, it’s important to talk to people. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. People who’ve gone through what you’re going through and can give you the benefit of their experience. Even though you’re far away from your grandfather, you don’t... read more...
    Your mother may be struggling with defining who she has become within her increasing physical restrictions. It is very difficult to be an observer of the suffering that comes with such a struggle. An important first step is to ask your mother and her health care team if she has any symptoms that affect her comfort. Uncontrolled symptoms such... read more...
    Your father probably finds this a very difficult and stressful situation. People deal with stress in different ways, and no one approach is better than any other. As well, people’s responses can change over time. They may not want to talk right away, but may open up with time. Your father may not be ready to open up now. Fathers often feel... read more...
    It is common for a person to feel a range of emotions when they hear their illness is progressing and death is not far away. The person may feel numb, sad, helpless, disappointed or angry, to name just a few possible reactions. You and other family members may have similar feelings. All of these reactions are normal. There really are no specific... read more...
    The philosophy of palliative care encourages care for the whole person. Such care tries to meet the person’s spiritual, emotional, cultural, and social needs, as well as physical symptoms. Your colleague’s needs have been shaped by her culture. If you do not know about that culture, you may feel you don't fully understand her needs, and may... read more...
    Every person has spirituality. Whatever moves or expresses your spirit or inner energy is part of your spirituality. In some senses your spirituality is expressed in every aspect of your personal and public life. It is just part of who you are – woven into and expressed through every thought, feeling, and action. There are many definitions... read more...
    This is a difficult and yet very common experience of caregivers. When someone is not well, they often take out their frustrations and anger on the person who is closest to them. Perhaps they feel it is a safe place to “just be themselves.” In terms of how to respond, it’s important to recognize that anger is a natural and powerful emotion... read more...