We Mourn Together Creates Space for
Virtual Connectedness to Community
CALL TO ACTION - Essential Attendants Needed
Bedside Attendance is Essential
Comfort Care Desperately Needed for Critically Ill Patients and at the End of Life
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, November 19, 2020
Collectively we have a gaping wound of pain and suffering around the lack of proper bedside attendance to the critically ill and dying. We watch the news of the day repeat the same stories of overburdened nurses and caregivers who are standing in for family members at the bedside of sick and dying patients. We must focus on doing death differently. Medicine and medical directives refer to “Comfort Care” and it is time NOW to designate as frontline essential workers those who stand by the bedside in order to comfort the ill and dying.
Joey Traywick, an ICU Nurse in Montana said “We are broken” to describe the inhumane demands on the front-line medical essential workers who are overwhelmed by the sadness of patients who are being left all alone at the end-of-life. Currently there are not enough doctors, nurses and caregivers to aid and assist patients, and save lives, while people are alone facing sickness and death. Task shifting to hold the hand of the dying patient isn’t allowed, and the over-extended workforce is buckling under the pressures of sorrow and grief as they witness unattended deaths.
Kelly Meeker, a 36-year old Minnesota Covid survivor, was in a coma and in the ICU for weeks. During the height of her daughter’s sickness, her mother Brenda Fick wasn’t allowed to be with her daughter because of visitor restrictions. She couldn’t hold her daughter’s hand. "You really can’t describe it,” she said. “You want to be there. That's your job. But you can't. So you're just helpless." Brenda went on to say she experienced great consolation and comfort in being able to connect virtually with her daughter in “zoom meetings” while her daughter was hospitalized in grave condition.
It is time to acknowledge the desperate need for front line workers to step up to the bedside attendance of standing by and providing comfort care to the critically ill and dying. In the blink of an eye in March, we collectively agreed that the grocery store check out lady and the stock boy are essential workers. We also agree that liquor stores are essential. We depend on all of the caregivers that provide essential services (ADLs) taking care of seniors and disabled people. Bedside attendance to bring comfort care to the sick and dying is essential, and demands the immediate response to a call to action for workers (clergy, ministry, doulas, and lay people) to step up to serve.
Sitting vigil at the bedside of the dying brings levels of comfort, including an affirmation of personhood as well as standing by so that no one is alone in pain and fear. We must honor and respect last rites practices, and we must allow time and space for grief and sorrow. We are facing a mental tsunami of pain as we are confronted by our current distortion of dying whereby so many people are alone and unattended at the end of life.
The way we grieve now directly affects our trajectory of how we move forward in healing and recovery. Grief is natural and necessary. We grieve for ourselves and for our losses, as well as for other’s losses. Our losses are real and our griefs are compounding. Complicated Bereavement may become Complex Persistent Behavior Disorder exhibited as infinite longing and infinite sorrow over a protracted period of time (6 months or longer). Loneliness is defined as a feeling of being deserted. Grief creates deep mental anguish, and the spirit of grief can be consuming and debilitating. We have lost what used to be, but will never be again.
Our collective hearts ache with the knowledge that so many people are going to the end of their life alone. Bedside attendance creates space to literally stand in with comfort care, as their family at the end when their family isn’t there. Telecommunications channels exist to virtually connect loved ones, and workforce and resources are needed to focus on making available this priceless reality to bring comfort to people. Providing personal, attentive comfort care all the way to the end of life is the path of least regret, for families and for our Nation as a whole.
We Mourn Together is a charity effort that creates space for virtual connectedness to community, and is specifically seeking to highlight the immediate need to recognize and designate Bedside Attendance as essential, thereby opening the doors of hospitals, CCRCs, hospice and homes to essential workers (secular and nonsecular) to go to the bedside and assume the duties of sitting vigil with ill and dying people. We wish to spotlight the immediate need of putting people and technology together to create space for virtual connectedness to family and friends at the end of life.
We Mourn Together is Developing a Cadre of Clergy and Essential Attendants to Serve the IMMEDIATE NEED for Bedside Attendance and Ministry.
Please Join Our Efforts to Build Community and Fellowship to Serve the Bedside Needs of Those Who are Suffering Alone.
We Help Together
Life Stories Matter
Bedside Attendance and Ministry
Family vigal, on-call ministry, and religious responsiveness at bedside.
Virtual attendance at bedside via telephonic and VR technology (holographic)
We Share Support Meetings + You Don't Have To Be Alone Hotline + Bedside Attendance and Ministry + Gather to Remember Dedicated Time To Mourn + Virtual Memorial Vault + Remembrance Gift Shop + WMT YouTube Channel