Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Farley-Kluger Amendment


The Farley-Kluger Amendment (www.farleykluger.com)
Just go to www.farleykluger.com to sign the petition

There is no loss greater than the loss of a child. Words cannot express the depth of sorrow you feel. Some companies allow 3 days bereavement, some companies are more generous in this situation, but most, unfortunately, are not. Expecting parents to come back to work within a week and "be normal" not only shows a lack of compassion, but a lack of empathy.
–Brenda S. from Alexandria, VA

As a bereaved parent I cannot believe this isn't already in place. Losing a child, toddler, teen or adult makes no difference to the trauma the parents go through. There is no loss like it. We are kinder to animals than to our fellow man.
–Michele H. from Alden, NY

These are just a few of the many comments that have been made by parents who have suffered the tragic loss of a child and then not been given adequate time off of work to mourn their loss.

Currently the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits workers, in companies with 50 or more employees, to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to help care for a sick immediate family member. Surprisingly, the FMLA does not cover the death of a child. As a result, some bereaved moms and dads have had to make the difficult decision as to whether to spend time away from their companies and risk losing their jobs or return to work long before they are ready.

Two grieving fathers, Barry Kluger and Kelly Farley, have started a petition to get the law changed and in just one year, went from 1,000 to 34,000 petitions to Congress and in Fall 2011, Sen. Jon Tester, inspired by The Farley-Kluger Amendment (www.farleykluger.com), introduced the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011 which is currently in a U.S. Senate Committee. The week of March 19, Messrs. Kluger and Farley travel to DC for over 20 Hill meetings with various Senators and Congresspersons, in their effort to get a companion House Bill introduced. We are asking you to join with us in supporting a proposed amendment to FMLA that would allow unpaid leave time of up to 12 weeks for families who have lost a child.
You can help! It’s simple and will only take a few minutes of your time. Just go to www.farleykluger.com to sign the petition. It would also help if you make a comment about this amendment being particularly as parents and health care professionals. After you sign the petition, you will be given the option to send an email to your representatives in Congress to support the Farley-Kluger Amendment and this change to FMLA.

Perhaps these words from Kathleen, a Gold Star military mother from Mashpee, MA say it best:
My son’s re-deployment to Heaven on Sept. 24th 2010 was and still is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life. The pain never goes away but through time we as parents figure out what our new normal is going to be. Life as we knew it will forever be changed. I support this bill 100%....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When Caregivers Are Left With Nothing More To Give

Writer Sandra Tsing Loh spoke last week on the NPR national call-in show Talk of the Nation about a provocative piece she had written for The Atlantic Magazine. It was about the heavy financial and emotional cost of caring for her elderly father and stepmother. It was already a pretty sobering conversation, which is what you might expect since her piece was subtitled "Why Caring for My Aging Father Has Me Wishing He Would Die."

Then Yvonne called in and said:

"In 2000, my mother's heart suddenly stopped. And I took care of her for 10 years, and that was total care. That means bathing, making all of her meals, changing her diapers. I also work in long-term care. I'm a registered nurse. And on top of that, my youngest daughter gave birth to a child that she really couldn't take care of herself. So I was doing, wow, all of that. And I got to tell you: There were times I thought I was going to lose it. I could not — I felt so angry, and I'm ashamed of that."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trauma and Adversity in Childhood: History Need Not Be Destiny from Huffington Post

Once again, the American Academy of Pediatrics is demonstrating its clinical leadership. Two recent, groundbreaking reports -- "The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress" and "Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science Into Lifelong Health" -- by the Academy boldly declare what has been known but too hidden from sight: Namely, that brain and emotional development is profoundly disrupted by childhood adversity and trauma.

The pediatric academy quotes Frederick Douglass who said "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

Pet Loss: Mangia and Me from Huffington Post

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Mary K. Moore
Mary K. Moore

Author, 'The Unexpected When You're Expecting'

Pet Loss: Mangia and Me
Posted: 02/21/2012 1:40 pm
Cats , Grey's Anatomy , Marley & Me , Cathy , Euthanasia , Grieving For a Pet , Losing a Pet , Old-Yeller , Pet Death , Pets , Healthy Living News

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"Why do you have two frozen corn dogs on your eyes?" asks my husband.

It's a fair question. I was trying to relieve the swelling from crying the night before. My 16-year-old cat, Mangia, had died unexpectedly which in many ways is like saying Christmas came without warning or you were ambushed by gravity. Still, as my breaded meat compresses attested, I was completely unprepared for her passing.

Grieving for a cat is a tricky proposition. Especially if you're a woman. By just owning one, you're a potential punchline and crying over one is viewed as more Cathy than cathartic. With dogs, you have society's blessing when it comes to sadness. It's the stuff of best sellers and tear jerkers, from "Old Yeller" to "Marley and Me." I remember being handed "Where the Red Fern Grows" in sixth grade as a silent, in-class reading assignment. It was the story of two hunting dogs bound together by love until their ultimate heroic deaths. You could always tell when one of us got to the touching graveside scene, sniffles erupting, classmates weeping quietly in order of their reading speed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

As Children Grieve from Nurse Together

Talking to children about death is never easy.

Often this is because we are caught up in our own grief over a particular loss. So often children are pushed aside during these times and their feelings are left unaddressed and thus, we send the message that their feelings are unimportant. This can start a life cycle in which they learn to repress their emotions. They can bury them under deep and dark covers because during their childhood encouragement was not offered for the free expression of their thoughts and feelings. When all that was needed and wanted was understanding and patience, comfort and acceptance, children are often ignored because it is easier. This is especially true when the adults are experiencing their own grief and loss.

The following message came to me in my sleep, as most of my writings do, and so when I awakened, it was fresh on my heart. I send it to you with love and respect.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Should grief be treated like depression? from CNN

Editor's note: Dr. Charles Raison, CNNhealth's mental health expert, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

(CNN) -- I am starting to think that there are no answers to the issues most worth writing about, at least in psychiatry.

Consider the following scenario: A woman who has been mostly happy in her marriage for 30 years comes home to find her husband dead on the floor, the victim of a heart attack.

At first, she is numb with shock. Slowly, as the days pass, she becomes more and more upset. She cries at any mention of her husband. She can't sleep. She can't eat. Nothing seems worth doing, and even if it was, she wouldn't be able to concentrate enough to get it done.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Benefits of Tears from Huffington Post

Something extraordinary happened at Candlestick Park in San Francisco two Saturdays ago, Jan. 14. Sure, it was an amazing ending to an NFL playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints (which the Niners won in dramatic fashion, making all of us fans here in the Bay Area very happy); but the monumental win wasn't what made it so remarkable to me.

As Vernon Davis, the tight end for the Niners who caught the game-winning touchdown, came running off the field, tears were streaming down his face. He came to the sidelines and was embraced by his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, in a huge bear hug. Coach Harbaugh hugged him for quite a while and spoke into his ear in what I can only imagine was an expression of authentic appreciation and celebration. It was a beautiful and moving moment that transcended football and even sports -- it was about courageous triumph, raw human emotion and vulnerable self expression.