Home End of Life Words Left Unspoken: Starting Last Conversations

Words Left Unspoken: Starting Last Conversations

John Wenderlein book 'Remember Me: End of Life as Seen through the Eyes of a Hospice Chaplain''

Hospice chaplain John Wenderlein joins Suzanne to talk about how he helps families facilitate having those difficult conversations during end of life care and hospice.

John says, “I think you have to bring them to a peace of mind. You know, we come into a family, and what we like to call in our Christian life, a lot. Their last season, you have to convince them that you’re there because you love them. You just want to be there and that opens up, that takes down that wall many times. I will have a conversation with family members as if I was [part of] the family. They get to love me in that way because it’s just about the end of life for that family member and it’s how they go out. That’s so important to me.”

“W live with people who rerun their lives. I was with someone two days ago. I walked into her room and she was staring into the ceiling. She said, I’m looking at my life at a million miles an hour. What happens when we come to this end? They resolve, they come to peace with what’s coming.”

How do we as adult children help to resolve issues? John says, “Well, we start by listening. I know that’s hard sometimes as we get older. But you know what happens is, as we get older, the role responsibilities tend to change. We tend to be in the parent role… You almost have to be silent. They are going to desire to download, tell everybody the truth, tell everybody they love that they care. Or maybe there was some friction. I’ve seen families get together at the end of life when they couldn’t get along during life, because it’s time. It’s kind of like you’re packing your bags [for a trip] and you make sure you put your toothbrush in there at the end, make sure everything’s in there, all inclusive. And that’s what many people do when they come to the end.”

Learn more about John Wenderlein:
* Remember Me: End of Life as Seen through the Eyes of a Hospice Chaplain https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Me-through-Hospice-Chaplain/dp/B0CGL5V4KZ
* Delayed Honor https://www.amazon.com/Delayed-Honor-John-Kirn-Wenderlein/dp/B0CTXB6M22
* John’s website: https://www.remembermejw.com/

Hear more:
* End of life podcasts at Answers for Elders: https://answersforelders.com/tag/end-of-life/

Answers for Elders is part of the Senior Resource Network: https://www.seniorresource.com/
Check out our affiliate podcast Alzheimer’s Speaks: https://alzheimersspeaks.com/