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Humor and Spirituality Near the End of Life Marvin E. Herring, MD Clinical Professor Family Medicine UMDNJ-SOM herrinmg@umdnj.edu. Humor and Spirituality Near the End of Life. Objectives – Attendees will be able to: 1. Understand why spirituality and humor are bound to

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Humor and Spirituality Near the End of LifeMarvin E. Herring, MD Clinical Professor Family MedicineUMDNJ-SOMherrinmg@umdnj.edu
humor and spirituality near the end of life
Humor and Spirituality Near the End of Life

Objectives –

Attendees will be able to:

1. Understand why spirituality and humor are bound to

any processing of end-of-life issues

2. Begin or revisit exploring personal concepts of End-

of Life issues.

3. Appreciate faith-based contributions to end-of-life

care, illustrated by Japanese and Jewish precepts.

4. Recognize applicability to Palliative Medical Care.

knowledge of mortality fear and uncertainty7
Knowledge of MortalityFear and Uncertainty

“Tell me, Father, is there a 'Next-To-The-Last' rites?"

coping with dying and the fear of dying
Coping with Dying and the Fear of Dying

Denial

Humor

Faith

Acceptance and Embrace

humor and faith
Humor and Faith

Humor eases fear and anxiety

Humor makes angst manageable

Humor provides a communication

interface.

Uncertainly breeds hope of an afterlife

Faith diminishes anxiety

Faith - The promise of an afterlife

becomes an assurance of an afterlife.

faith and mortality the japanese
Faith and Mortality - The Japanese

Japan Until the 5th century, Shinto Belief Systems.

Death from smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, typhoon, flood,drought, famine, blindness, war.

Living past one year a milestone.

Talismanic prayer - lucky gods, symbols of long life , immortality.

Gosho Ningyo - fat chubby child- figurines given as gifts- happy, fat = healthy.

faith and mortality the japanese18
Faith and Mortality - The Japanese

Adoption of Buddhism as a promise of a next life being better -

Zen, fatalism, and acceptance of death as a blessing, a bridge, a "that's it."

Death poems.

“Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the 'death poem.'  Such a poem is often written in the very last moments of the poet's life."

Crossing The Rubicon

http://northernva.typepad.com/crossing_the_rubicon/2006/01/japanese_death_.html

faith and mortality the japanese19
Faith and Mortality - The Japanese

A bright and pleasantautumn day to makedeath's journey.

Fukyu Age 79

Farewell...                                I pass as all things do do        

dew on the grass.     

Banzan

The owner of the cherry blossomsturns to compostfor the trees. Utsu Age 50

This final scene I'll not see  

to the end...

my dream is fraying. Choko

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife

The Jewish religion, a monotheistic religion based on the laws and teachings of the Holy Scripture and the Talmud.

(Webster's New World Dictionary)

Holy Scripture - the Torah (Five books handed down to Moses at Sinai)

Talmud - The compilation of discourse, dialogue, rabbinical teaching, with major emphasis on being measured by ethical living, deed-doing, preserving tradition and study of Torah. 1st- 6th centuries CE.

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife22
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife

The Biblical Era - Death comes to all, with little hinting at afterlife.

The Rabbinic Era - Punishment, even of the pious, and the reason for "discovering" resurrection in the teachings. (Destruction of the Temple 70 CE)

.Sadducees

.Pharisees

.Essenes

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife after josephus greco roman historian 38 100 ce
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife (After Josephus – Greco-Roman Historian 38-100 CE )

Sadducees

Rigorous

fundamentalists.

Re: afterlife - "the souls

die with the bodies."

We come we live, we go.

That's it!

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife after josephus greco roman historian 38 100 ce24
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife(After Josephus – Greco-Roman Historian 38-100 CE )

Pharisees - tradition is molded by contributions from a "continuous succession of fathers.”

“Souls have a deathless vigor.beneath the earth there are rewards (virtue) and punishments (vice). For the latter, everlasting imprisonment…the former shall have the power to revive and live again (..on account of which, they are able to persuade greatly the body of the people).”

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife25
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife

Pharisees:– One sub sect -

We are resurrected body

And soul.

Another - We are clothed

at The resurrection..

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife after josephus greco roman historian 38 100 ce26
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife (After Josephus – Greco-Roman Historian 38-100 CE )

Essenes- a Platonic

belief that the souls,

freed from the body,

"rejoice and mount upward."

faith and mortality judaism and the afterlife27
Faith and Mortality- Judaism and the Afterlife

Kabbalah - Mystic Judaism -

Kabbalah became a reference to doctrines of esoteric knowledge concerning God, God's creation of the universe and the laws of nature, and the path by which adult religious Jews can learn these secrets.

Hasidism- Jewish religious movement founded in Poland in the 18th cent. by Baal-Shem-Tov. Its name derives from Hasidim (The Pious), which stressed the mercy of God and encouraged joyous religious expression through music and dance.

No fear of death - Embraced the joy of passing on, a triumph of faith over fear.

humor and faith promise of resurrection acceptance and embrace
Humor and Faith Promise of Resurrection Acceptance and Embrace

Humor eases death fear and anxiety.

Humor makes death angst manageable .

Humor provides a communication interface.

Uncertainly breeds hope of an afterlife.

Faith diminishes and conquers death anxiety.

Faith - The promise of an afterlife becomes

an assurance of an afterlife.

spiritual dimension of mortality
Spiritual Dimension of Mortality

Death is simply a shedding

of the physical body like

the butterfly shedding

its cocoon.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross visited the Maidenek concentration camp in 1946. When she got to the children's barracks, it was particularly sorrowful, with toys and shoes strewn about, but there was something else, too. The walls were covered with hundreds of butterflies, scratched and etched with fingernails and pebbles

spiritual dimension of hospice
Spiritual Dimension of Hospice

It was the inability of the medical model to deal with the reality of patients who die that motivated Dame Cicely Saunders and the interdisciplinary team she gathered in London in the 1960s at St. Christopher's Hospice.

Accepting that death is a normal part of human life, Dame Saunders and her team established a system of comprehensive care that embraces the physical, emotional, spiritual, existential, and relational dimensions of dying.

Park Ridge Center for Health,Faith and Ethics

http://www.parkridgecenter.org/Page515.html

humor and faith at the clinical bedside
Humor and Faith at the Clinical Bedside

Humor and Faith, both

tangible aspects of the

human spirit, are allies

in the clinical management

of those souls and their

loved ones who are

dealing with life-limiting

illness. Longer a part of

the healer's tools than the modern sophisticated interventions, they have demonstrated potency, and stand as cornerstones of

palliative care.

resources
Resources
  • Japanese Death Poems:

Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death. Yoel Hoffman

  • The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought. Neil Gillman
  • Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia

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