Tuesday, November 17, 2009

~Remembering Elisabeth Kubler-Ross~

Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 1926-2004

Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross is a hero of mine, she always was, is and will forever be a hero. This is the 40Th year, a milestone if you will since her publication of "On Death and Dying". It was a groundbreaking classic; bringing loss, death and grief out of closets, across the world. She gave us the stages of grief; those same age old stages that we all find ourselves surviving and thriving through today. Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance. These stages are visited and re-visited and in no particular order, often not making sense to the one experiencing it. Dr Ross knew first hand of those grief stages, she worked it, lived it, she fought the system... She walked the walk and deserved the many badges of honor that gave us her wisdom and knowledge to "talk the talk" long before it was fashionable or accepted. I had the honor of meeting Dr Ross many many moons ago, and it was an honor that helped shape my career.

This year, somewhere right now Dr Ross' beloved son Ken is on the road! He is taking his beautiful pictures and talking to the masses, doing book signings as he presents the new book titled, "Tea with Elisabeth". It was launched this year at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations' conference in Washington D.C. Ken continues to honor his Mom's legacy and her legacy is huge. When you have a moment I encourage you to visit the website: http://www.ekrfoundation.org/
you will learn more of Dr Ross, her work, her writings and the impact she has had on the world.

She was one of the original pioneers of hospice and a woman of vision and clarity in what she did. Perhaps not always understood by others as she aged, she was a free spirit and proud of life, gifted beyond words, and determination of the bear spirit. She once lived in southwest Virginia providing a home for children with AIDS, and had llamas on the 300 acre farm there. While away someone who didn't like the idea of her work, set fire to the place, her animals died, land destroyed, dreams up in smoke as well along with all, all her personal belongings.  It was then that she retired to Arizona to be near her family, to be with Ken. She as so many believed in the power of the butterfly! She claimed them as her symbol and believed at the the time of death a beautiful transformation occurred similar to the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis; now let's see... I remember writing about that in a previous blog! Do you remember reading it? Good thing they are listed to the right side of this page huh? hahaha
Folks around D.C., and new theorists, researchers and therapists begin to build on her work, some referring to her as "eccentric" others not referring to her at all as the great woman she was... She received more awards and honors than I can mention, including the Humanitarian award, Ideal Citizen Award, Living Legacy Award.... and the list goes on!  I think she deserves to be a bit eccentric don't you?

With all of that said, and remembering that Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross is MY hero... I am dropping Ken a copy of Healing Heartaches today and picking up my autographed copy of Tea With Elisabeth!
Dr. Ross was known all over the world. When the news broke of her death, I am certain that the sympathy cards begin filling the postal units of Arizona from the states and countries and territories... from across the globe.  I can remember when Time Magazine named Elisabeth one of "The Centuries Greatest Minds" ... and I am sure that was true. But I like to remember her as one of the Centuries greatest warriors, and one of the worlds' greatest heart's... For it was her warrior spirit and beautiful heart that led people to develop the vision of hospice care and to listen with all of their senses along the way.  Dance in the Lights Elisabeth, you live on, your work will be the foundation for for those working in the field, for those loving, living, dying and grieving in the world.  Thank you Ken Ross for working to keep your Mom's legacy alive.

I leave you with some inspiration from Elisabeth, these are her quotes... and most are things that would fall from my mouth in a heartbeat!!! Funny, they call me eccentric...

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."

"We make progress in society only if we stop cursing and complaining about its shortcomings and have the courage to do something about them"

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose."

"I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime".

Dr Ross dedicated her life to those living with dying; those facing end of life decisions and those who loved them along the journey. She was a Doctor, a psychiatrist and a healer. But she was also a warrior, fighting the systems; and fighting the overwhelming battles of patients and their loved ones. She sat beside the dying and allowed them to tell her their story; in their time and their way. She provided assurances and comforts, taking her time, providing hope

May this day be a day of thanksgiving to all .

Walk In Beauty!


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