Dealing with Grief

It is how you live until you die that is important. I offer face to face meetings in Dublin and Westmeath or World wide via doxy.me. I look forward to talking to you soon. Call me?

The human experience of grief and loss is a natural part of everyday life. Grief is felt about many aspects of life. Although the death of a loved one is often the first cause that comes to mind there are many other kinds of losses which can spark a grief response. For example; the break up of a relationship; the loss of a job, whether that is unexpected or by retirement; the death of a beloved pet; the loss of health or the ability to look after yourself.

Read more ...

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief

Learn about the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 5 stages of grief from Mary Stefanazzi - a skilled professional who met and trained with Elisabeth's foundation from 1989 to 1991. Click on the highlighted text to read Mary's account of Meeting Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

When you think of grief what is your first thought? My guess is that you answered tears or sadness. Tears and sadness are indeed part of grief and loss but there is more to it according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. 

Read more ...

Meeting Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Breaking the silence about loss, death and dying

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004) was a psychiatrist notable for her pioneering work in breaking the silence around death and dying. Her work was groundbreaking in changing how doctors treat dying patients. The publication of her first book On Death and Dying in 1969 is said to have rocked the medical profession while at the same time it created public outcry for compassionate care of the dying.

Elisabeth is possibly best known for her pioneering work, setting out the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 5 stages of grief.

Read more ...

Conversations About Death

  • Do you avoid the subject of death?
  • Do you dismiss your children’s questions about death?
  • Do you know why you avoid any conversation about death?
  • What's the worst thing that could happen if you speak about death?

One of the first people to speak publicly about death was Dr. Elisabeth Kübler Ross. Read about Elisabeth's pioneering work in this Time magazine article “The Woman Who Made Death a Conversation Starter.”

In the mid-1960's she interviewed dying patients who were willing to talk about their experience for the benefit of medical students. Life magazine subsequently ran an article about these interviews entitled, “A Profound Lesson for the Living,” which you can read by clicking on the title.

Elisabeth believed that facing our mortality is what truly enables us to live more fully. She wondered why out of sheer natural curiosity we do not speak more often about death since it is one of the few certainties of life. The sad thing is that many of us do not think or talk about death till it comes close to us due to illness or the death of someone close. But it does not have to be that way.

Mary Stefanazzi and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Photo taken at Elisabeth's farm in Head Waters, Virginia, USA, 1991

 

In recent times media reports tend to move away from using the word ‘death’. The term more commonly used is 'passed away' or something similar. Since the word death is universally understood and adequate when speaking about the end of physical life there is no obvious need to change the term.

Having met Elisabeth my interest is in following her example by trying to make it easier for people to speak about death. I work with individuals or groups to help them start a conversation about death in a sensitive, safe and ethical way.

A ‘Death Café’ is a lot more enjoyable than it sounds! In this format I invite people to come together as a group over tea or coffee and we talk about death. My job is to make sure everyone is safe and heard and that no one person dominates the conversation. This is a very different sort of process to counselling or group therapy.

Below are some of the comments from people who participated.

  • ‘I never thought a ‘Death Café’ could be so enjoyable’
  • ‘Hosting a ‘Conversation Café’ about death with my family was a very healing experience. We couldn’t have done it on our own. Mary’s non-intrusive and skilled help made the difficult things we needed to speak about possible. We shall be forever grateful to her.’
  • ‘The experience was invigorating and life-giving.’
  • ‘We were surprised to learn that there was no real need to avoid the subject of death. It was such a relief to finally speak about it.’
  • ‘All I can say is that it was a transformative learning experience thanks to Mary’s help.’

When the fear of death is lessened by speaking about it in a safe and well facilitated environment people are often relived at being able to address important practical matters that were put on the long-finger beforehand. Every time we realise that our time on earth is limited our priorities often fall into a different kind of order.

Mary launched ‘Conversation Café Ireland’ in October 2015 to encourage conversations that matter. The name describes a process that involves more than a casual conversation. A Conversation Café provides a taste of what can happen when people really communicate and feel heard. The process can be adapted to suit all kinds of situations and diverse groups of people. Contact Mary to discuss your needs and it will flow naturally from there - talking to Mary is the first step whatever you are thinking of.

The ‘Conversation Café’ process is structured along established ethical principles in such a way as to allow the organic nature of an authentic human conversation to happen. The aim is to support and encourage the flourishing of each human person through the process of an ordinary conversation that can accommodate the extraordinary.

 

Any questions about how I can assist you?

Contact me directly

Phone:  +353-86-8545407

E-mail:  mary.stefanazzi@gmail.com