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What is Our Phoenix Song? Using Music to Heal Our Grief

vcorso February 25th, 2012, 6:55 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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file9811260046943My family reads every night after dinner and for the last 2 years we have read aloud the seven Harry Potter books. For those familiar with these stories, there is a scene toward the end of the sixth book “The Half-Blood Prince,” in which Harry’s mentor and guardian Albus Dumbledore is killed at the hand of Severus Snape.  It is a moving and powerful scene for many reasons critical to the arc of the story. It includes the image of Dumbledore’s bird, a magical Phoenix named Fawkes, crying a haunting…

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Laughing Through Tears

vcorso February 17th, 2012, 2:31 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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file0001272306477The film Steel Magnolias focuses on themes of friendship, love, suffering, illness, life and death. Within these themes the plot highlights the life, illness and dying process of a young woman played by Julia Roberts. Her mom is artfully portrayed by Sally Field. Toward the end of the film there is a heart-wrenching scene at a graveside. In it, the mom, played by Fields, is standing in silhouette, staring into the grave of her young daughter, who was newly married with an infant son. Needless to say, this is a difficult…

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Moving Mom

vcorso May 16th, 2011, 10:57 AM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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familysignUp until this blog entry, I have been writing about topics related to grief and loss surrounding the illness and death of my Dad in July 2010. Of late, I have been struggling with a painful turn of events relating to the care of my Mom, who is 92. In many respects, the pain and grief emanating from my father’s illness and death were easier to cope with than the story I am about to share. I share these details and the story beneath them to support other adult children or families struggling with a…

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Saying “Goodbye” to Say “Hello”

vcorso April 12th, 2011, 12:37 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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11126484131Almost ten years ago, my wife’s grandmother died. At the time, we gathered as a family to be of support and comfort to one another, telling stories and sharing the legacy of this wonderful woman who lived well into her 90’s. Our daughter, who was three at the time, saw the family dynamics — crying, laughing, sharing stories — but due to her age, she wasn’t much of a verbal participant in the mourning period.

Fast-forward three years. Our family was sharing a moment at our dining table one evening, our daughter is now…

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Dealing with Reality TV

vcorso March 17th, 2011, 12:12 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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Some years ago, through the public relations conduits of VNSNY, I was a guest consultant on MSNBC. The topic was the worldwide reaction to the death of Pope John Paul II. As a bereavement professional and member of the clergy, I was asked why there was such a strong public outpouring of grief over the death of one man. While I don’t recall my exact comments from that day, I’m sure my response focused on both his larger-than-life persona as a Pope, as well as the person himself. He had struggled…

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

vcorso February 14th, 2011, 5:11 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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Repeat after me:

“Grieving is hard work. That’s what the books say. That’s what grieving people say. That’s what I say. Grieving is hard work. ” Repeat.

The intensity of grief can be so overpowering at times that the griever can’t tell one day from the next, the present moment from the one before. It can be terrifying and exhausting. How does the griever ‘mark time?’

First, what do we know about grief? Well, it’s unique to each individual experiencing it and it never progresses in a straight line.  There are no linear stages except in…

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One Month After Christmas

vcorso January 23rd, 2011, 4:53 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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I could never forget my Dad’s birthday,  January 25th, exactly one month after Christmas. Every other year I looked forward to it, this year, not so much.

I’ve said to myself: “Be realistic.”  This Tuesday, January 25th, I am in an all-day training for work; I have to be home in time to vote on an important local school board referendum; the President is giving the State of the Union speech; and the metro area is anticipating yet another winter storm. Isn’t that enough to keep me busy? Must I mark…

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Creating a Legacy

vcorso January 18th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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“In a house which becomes a home, one hands down and another takes up the heritage of mind and heart, laughter and tears, musings and deeds. Love, like a carefully loaded ship, crosses the gulf between the generations. Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage: when we wed, when we die, and when we are blessed with a child; when we depart and when we return; when we plant and when we harvest… We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things. It is needful…

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On Being a Son

vcorso December 30th, 2010, 10:05 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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VLC VMCAs our readers may have noticed, I have been away from the VNSNY blog since July. One of the last entries I contributed was one describing the experience of accompanying my Dad to our local hospital’s ER and the resulting aftermath that event.

My Dad died in July, not long after that blog entry. This is the first entry I have posted since then. I valued my privacy and needed that time to put my thoughts together in a readable and, hopefully, beneficial fashion. To be honest, for quite a while, it was just too painful to…

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An Unexpected Day with an Unexpected Gift

vcorso June 2nd, 2010, 2:54 PM
Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT, Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services
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It’s one thing for this hospice worker to go about his day in familiar territory aware of the curves, signals and speed traps that go into driving care for hospice patients. It’s quite another when the person being cared for is his parent.

One week ago, my Dad, who is 83, on dialysis and battling leukemia and lymphoma, was rushed to the emergency room with severe chest pain and shortness of breath. This was an unwanted twist in his disease progression. As the person responsible for his heath care decisions, Dad…

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