Unexpected Triggers in Grief

Abby EmbryDeath and Dying

Outside my window I am serenaded by the raindrops, which, in these quiet isolating times, can offer a reflective atmosphere for checking in with yourself. Today’s subject is a heavy one. We are discussing “triggers.” As we move through these lessons and conversations in grief as a virtual group, talk about “triggers” comes up often. Triggers are sensory experiences that … Read More

New Additions to Our Library

Abby EmbryDeath and Dying

Did you know Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg has a library? It’s a library unlike any other in that it is specifically curated with our families, guests, and greater community in mind. It contains hundreds of titles specific to end-of-life and bereavement.  Books range from grief memoirs and grief psychology to caregiver guides and children’s books. Read below … Read More

Obituaries and Empty Spaces: Reflections on Vigil Volunteering

Abby EmbryDeath and Dying

A reporter from the Chicago Sun Times called me a couple of weeks ago to inquire if I knew anything about the death or funeral details of a woman who recently died at Sentara Hospital. This woman, Louise Hutchinson, was a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune and her recent obituary made reference to Hospice House & Support Care. I … Read More

The Greatest Gift

Abby EmbryDeath and Dying, Hospice

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws … Read More

The Advanced Directive: A Way to Live Like We Are Dying and Die Like We Are Living

Audrey SmithAdvanced Planning, Death and Dying, End of Life

In 2008, I knew that my mother was declining in her long battle with endometrial cancer.  My mother had never had a conversation with my family members about advanced care planning.  End-of-life discussions unfortunately felt like taboo for my parents.   Having been an oncology nurse for some time, I knew that hospice care was on the horizon.  At the time, … Read More

“Where’s the chaplain?” Reflections on Last’s Week’s Washington Post Article

Audrey SmithChaplaincy, Death and Dying, Hospice

Last week the Washington Post published an article about death doulas.  I had an impromptu break-out dance session in my office after reading the article.  Why? I am a chaplain with a nonprofit hospice organization and there was some interesting energy coming from the comments section on this article.   In fact, some of that energy had to do with the … Read More