Holiday Newsletter 2017
One of the most difficult messages of the entire year to write is this one because the complexities of the season hit close to home for me, too. Try as I might to focus solely on Elisabeth’s teachings for the EKR Foundation newsletter, I also value transparency, which means that I can’t gloss over the fact that loss and the holidays are often tightly interwoven.
For me, this precious life lesson became stamped on my heart when I spent what would be a final Christmas with my then 13-year-old-son. At that time, I remember feeling confused, conflicted and nauseous from the weight of it all. How does one celebrate Christmas with a dying family member at home or on hospice care? Thinking about joy and Christmas, intermingled with how we were living every hour of the day, every day of the holiday season, made me feel like a hypocrite.
It was then that Elisabeth’s teachings on hope lead me to reframe the focus of our Christmas activities that year. We chose to focus on the celebration of LOVE instead of joy throughout the month of December and it changed everything for us. Our own expectations of what Christmas “should be” almost sidelined what the holiday “could be” and that one simple realization changed our lives for the better.
What happened? We took charge of our life-script and re-wrote what the season could be like. Yes, there was still pain and suffering but we buffered it was some real outside-the-box living with a capital “L.” We decided to bend (maybe break) a few rules and graciously thanked (and sent out the door) those who encouraged us to skip the tree by the getting the biggest one we could (in true Elisabeth Kübler-Ross style). If that Christmas was going to be our last hurrah, we were going to love each other through it by slurping up every luscious second of laughter and love that we could. In short, we did Christmas our way, which meant living it fully with meaning and intention.
What might that mean for you? It could be that you choose to skip the festivities this year. It could be that you have a party or something in between. Whatever it is, I hope you’ll make conscious decisions that work for you and your loved one. Choose to live this one magical life your way. Park what “should be” and embrace what “could be.” Re-write your script and LIVE FULLY with meaning because of this I’m sure — the memories you create together will help fuel your days and nights with warmth — for years to come.
Sending you Love and Light,
President, EKR Foundation
Welcome to new Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation Board member, Don Schumacher!
We are honored beyond measure that the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s former CEO, Donald J. Schumacher, PsyD has agreed to join our board of directors!
Don knew Elisabeth well and credits her with being a part of his decision to enter into the hospice field. Thank you, Don for being a special part of our team and a legendary part of the hospice and palliative care field. For more information on Don’s amazing career and background here’s the link: http://www.ekrfoundation.org/board-of-directors/
On November 22, 2017, Ken Ross, son of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, participated in the renaming of first hospice in Nieuwkoop, the Netherlands to the the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross House.
In addition, the street square in front of the building was also renamed to Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Rossplein (place/square) a parting gift from wonderful EKR Netherlands, President, Pieter Sluis. He also gave a meaningful talk in a beautiful old church and saw their first Kübler-Ross award go to Pim van Lommel for his work on near death experiences (NDEs). What a fabulous event it was!
Thank you so much EKR Foundation Netherlands and Peter Sluis for your incredible work over the years.
Announcing Our Ambassadors
The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation is honored to announce our new “ EKR Ambassadors” those who will help us further Elisabeth’s legacy. The first one we’d like to introduce is actress Alicia Coppola from Los Angeles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Coppola
At the age of 12, Alicia’s beloved father was diagnosed with cancer and through his illness, she grew to understand grief and the concept of living while dying. As an author, Alicia memorialized her journey in Gracefully Gone, https://www.amazon.com/Gracefully-Gone-Alicia-Coppola/dp/1484029119, a published memoir in which she speaks candidly about growing up while watching him become increasingly ill and caring for him throughout end-of-life while she was in college.
Fast forward: Alicia Coppola has just completed the seventh season of Showtime’s Shameless and stars opposite Bailee Madison in the recently released feature film, A Cowgirl’s Story for Samuel Goldwyn Films. She has a recurrent role on CBS’s NCIS LA and recently co-starred opposite Zac Efron in Max Joseph’s feature film We Are Your Friends.
Alicia currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Anthony and their three children.
Welcome to the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation, Alicia!
We’re so honored you’re helping us to further Elisabeth’s work.
Dianne Gray and Ken Ross were the opening and closing keynote speakers at Golden Willow Retreat’s recent conference, “Resilience: Support in Turbulent Times” in Taos, New Mexico. Reverend Ted Wiard continues to do wonderful work helping people navigate their grief. We’re so thankful to collaborate with Ted and his team.
Ken Ross will be getting with publishing giant, Simon & Schuster to discuss the upcoming 50th anniversary of Elisabeth’s first book, “On Death & Dying”.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation board member, Joan Marston, retired last year from the International Children’s Palliative Care Network after a decade of service. Her work on behalf of seriously ill children around the world is legendary. We’re so thankful for her! She recently recently gave two talks on the wisdom of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Foundation board member, Dr. M. R. Rajagopal has a new newsletter for all of our friends in India: http://palliumindia.org/newsletter/.
Also, Dr. Rajagopal is featured in a moving new documentary: “Hippocratic” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o__2hrc2gVY
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation Chapter Netherlands is hosting a ceremony in Nieuwkoop, Netherlands to celebrate Elisabeth’s important contributions to the development of hospice in that country. The country’s first hospice, as well as the town square, will be renamed after Elisabeth. There will also be a bi-annual EKR Award presented in her name. http://www.vptz.nl/actueel/nieuws/eerste-elisabeth-kubler-ross-lezing-nieuwkoop/
The first-ever Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation Chapter in Santiago, Chile recently opened on the 13th anniversary of Elisabeth’s passing. President Eva Johanna Velandia-Aranguren plans to develop grief support education, and training for hospice & social workers. https://www.facebook.com/EKRChile/
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation Chapter, EKR Japan recently completed their milestone 40th LDT (Life, Death and Transition) workshop in Kobe, Japan. http://www.ldt-workshop.org/index.html
EKR France is hosting a “death café” in Lyon at 6 PM on October 17th. http://ekr.france.free.fr/index/Affiche12.pdf
We are grateful for our many supporters around the world who continue to advance the many tenets EKR’s compassionate vision. To be included on our mailing list, please click the subscription button or write us at: info@nullEKRFoundation.org.
Blessings to each and every one of you throughout the coming months!
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