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Humor and Spirituality Near the End of Life Marvin E. Herring, MD Clinical Professor Family Medicine UMDNJ-SOM email@example.com. 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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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.
“Tell me, Father, is there a 'Next-To-The-Last' rites?"
Acceptance and Embrace
Humor eases fear and anxiety
Humor makes angst manageable
Humor provides a communication
Uncertainly breeds hope of an afterlife
Faith diminishes anxiety
Faith - The promise of an afterlife
becomes an assurance of an afterlife.
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.
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."
“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
A bright and pleasantautumn day to makedeath's journey.
Fukyu Age 79
Farewell... I pass as all things do do
dew on the grass.
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
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.
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)
Re: afterlife - "the souls
die with the bodies."
We come we live, we go.
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).”
Pharisees:– One sub sect -
We are resurrected body
Another - We are clothed
at The resurrection..
Essenes- a Platonic
belief that the souls,
freed from the body,
"rejoice and mount upward."
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 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.
Death is simply a shedding
of the physical body like
the butterfly shedding
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
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
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
Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death. Yoel Hoffman
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