Vaishnavas C.A.R.E. (Counseling, Assistance, Resource, and Education for the Terminally ill & Those in Need) is dedicated to
ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who exemplified how to live one's life in Krsna consciousness, and in the end, taught us how to leave this temporary world of birth and death.
It is in his honor that we seek to give care and comfort
to those who wish to follow in his sublime footsteps.
Prayer Request for Madhavananda Das & Krishnakund Dasi
My humble Pranams. Jaya Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Giridhari Gopinath!
It's a special blessing when Krishna personally intervenes in your life with a message that you have no choice but to listen to. It's touching to the heart to see Krishna's personal hand to teach us. In that regard, we just tested positive for Covid-19.
I'm very sick, very, very weak, and can hardly move. It's a good lesson to help us become more serious about our bhajan and detachment from matter. We are taking advice from a devotee doctor in Bhaktivedanta Hospital who heads their Covid-19 Division. She strongly advised me that I should not do any exercise right now. I should not even go for walks. She said that I will need every bit of my strength to fight this virus. Based on that, and the way I feel, I have to apologize that I won't be giving class for some time.
Your servants, Madhavananda Das and Krishnakund Devi Dasi.
Prayer Request for Caitanya Candra Carana Das Prabhu (GBC & Initiating Guru) and his wife, Gauracandrika Devi Dasi with Covid-19
UPDATE: His Grace Caitanya Candra Carana Prabhu and his wife, Her Grace Gauracandrika Devi Dasi, have been admitted to the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, India with Covid-19. Please pray for their safety and healing.
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
We have been informed that Caitanya Candra Carana Das Prabhu, one of our Russian GBCs, and his wife, Gauracandrika Devi Dasi, have tested positive for Covid-19. They have both been extremely ill for many days.
Along with his GBC service, Caitanya Candra Carana Prabhu serves as a diksa-guru, a much appreciated speaker and teacher, and an author of Krishna conscious books.
Please offer a prayer for the good health of these dedicated devotees.
Thank you very much.
Bhakti Caitanya Swami
GBC Executive Committee
His Grace Radha Damodara Das Passed Away from Covid-19
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing away of His Grace Radha Damodara Das who, being Covid-19 positive, was hospitalized for over a month.
Our heartfelt support goes to the children, who are still mourning the loss of their Mum, Her Grace Sri Radha Dasi Mataji. Now they have to come to terms with the loss of both parents in such a short space of time.
Let us all please pray for Prabhu's onward journey and for strength so that the children may be able to bear this loss. Thank you!
Please Pray for the Residents in Udupi, India experiencing Severe Floods
We are requesting prayers for all those in Udupi, South India. There is a major flood in the region and many are affected. Please remember them in your daily prayers. Thank you.
Your Friends at Vaishnavas CARE
Please Pray to
Lord Nrsimhadeva to protect the residents
Thank you so much!
Articles & Quotes
By Jane E. Brody
Thank you to Vaishnavas CARE Volunteer/Donor, James Donadio in California, for sharing this interesting article with our readers.
Although many of us are able to speak frankly about death, we still have a lot to learn about dealing wisely with its aftermath: grief, the natural reaction to loss of a loved one.
Relatively few of us know what to say or do that can be truly helpful to a relative, friend or acquaintance who is grieving. In fact, relatively few who have suffered a painful loss know how to be most helpful to themselves.
Two new books by psychotherapists who have worked extensively in the field of loss and grief are replete with stories and guidance that can help both those in mourning and the people they encounter avoid many of the common pitfalls and misunderstandings associated with grief. Both books attempt to correct false assumptions about how and how long grief might be experienced.
One book, “It’s OK That You’re Not OK,” by Megan Devine of Portland, Ore., has the telling subtitle “Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand.” It grew out of the tragic loss of her beloved partner, who drowned at age 39 while the couple was on vacation. The other book, especially illuminating in its coverage of how people cope with different kinds of losses, is “Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving,” by Julia Samuel, who works with bereaved families both in private practice and at England’s National Health Service, at St. Mary’s hospital, Paddington.
The books share a most telling message: As Ms. Samuel put it, “There is no right or wrong in grief; we need to accept whatever form it takes, both in ourselves and in others.” Recognizing loss as a universal experience, Ms. Devine hopes that “if we can start to understand the true nature of grief, we can have a more helpful, loving, supportive culture.”
Both authors emphasize that grief is not a problem to be solved or resolved. Rather, it’s a process to be tended and lived through in whatever form and however long it may take.
“The process cannot be hurried by friends and family,” however well-meaning their desire to relieve the griever’s anguish, Ms. Samuel wrote. “Recovery and adjustment can take much longer than most people realize. We need to accept whatever form it takes, both in ourselves and in others.”
We can all benefit from learning how to respond to grief in ways that don’t prolong, intensify or dismiss the pain. Likewise, those trying to help need to know that grief cannot be fit into a preordained time frame or form of expression. Too often people who experience a loss are disparaged because their mourning persists longer than others think reasonable or because they remain self-contained and seem not to mourn at all.
I imagine, for example, that some adults thought my stoical response to my mother’s premature death when I was 16 was “unnatural.” In truth, after tending to her for a year as she suffered through an unstoppable cancer, her death was a relief. It took a year for me to shed my armor and openly mourn the incalculable loss. But 60 years later, I still treasure her most important legacy: To live each day as if it could be my last but with an eye on the future in case it’s not.
Likewise, I was relieved when my husband’s suffering ended six weeks after diagnosis of an incurable cancer. Though I missed him terribly, I seemed to go on with my life as if little had changed. Few outside of the immediate family knew that I was honoring his dying wish that I continue to live fully for my own sake and that of our children and grandchildren.
Just as we all love others in our own unique ways, so do we mourn their loss in ways that cannot be fit into a single mold or even a dozen different molds. Last month, James G. Robinson, director of global analytics for The New York Times, described a 37-day, 6,150-mile therapeutic road trip he took with his family following the death of his 5-year-old son, collecting commemorative objects along the way and giving each member of the family a chance to express anger and sadness about the untimely loss.
Ms. Devine maintains that most grief support offered by professionals and others takes the wrong approach by encouraging mourners to move through the pain. While family and friends naturally want you to feel better, “pain that is not allowed to be spoken or expressed turns in on itself, and creates more problems,” she wrote. “Unacknowledged and unheard pain doesn’t go away. The way to survive grief is by allowing pain to exist, not in trying to cover it up or rush through it.”
As a bereaved mother told Ms. Samuel, “You never ‘get over it,’ you ‘get on with it,’ and you never ‘move on,’ but you ‘move forward.’”
Ms. Devine agrees that being “encouraged to ‘get over it’ is one of the biggest causes of suffering inside grief.” Rather than trying to “cure” pain, the goal should be to minimize suffering, which she said “comes when we feel dismissed or unsupported in our pain, with being told there is something wrong with what you feel.”
She explains that pain cannot be “fixed,” that companionship, not correction, is the best way to deal with grief. She encourages those who want to be helpful to “bear witness,” to offer friendship without probing questions or unsolicited advice, help if it is needed and wanted, and a listening ear no matter how often mourners wish to tell their story.
To those who grieve, she suggests finding a nondestructive way to express it. “If you can’t tell your story to another human, find another way: journal, paint, make your grief into a graphic novel with a very dark story line. Or go out to the woods and tell the trees. It is an immense relief to be able to tell your story without someone trying to fix it.”
She also suggests keeping a journal that records situations that either intensify or relieve suffering.
“Are there times you feel more stable, more grounded, more able to breathe inside your loss? Does anything — a person, a place, an activity — add to your energy bank account? Conversely, are their activities or environments that absolutely make things worse?”
Whenever possible, to decrease suffering choose to engage in things that help and avoid those that don’t.
For Those Families Who Are Grieving
Grief Support Group
Are you a Vaishnava who is grieving a loss of a friend or loved one? Are you seeking a Grief Support Group specifically for Devotees of Lord Krishna?
Please visit our Vaishnavas CARE Facebook Page and join our exclusive, Virtual, Private, Closed Grief Support Group. It is important to express your feelings of loss within a group of like-minded people who can relate to you and your expressions of grief. Currently, we have 105 members.
Kindly visit our "Vaishnavas CARE" Facebook page to register for our Virtual Grief Support Group. Co-facilitators for this one-of-a-kind support group for Vaishnavas are Janaki Devi Dasi, a Master's Degreed Social Worker/Counselor with years of experience in this field and Kamala Radha Devi Dasi who is starting her studies in Pastoral Care Counseling. We appreciate both of them for stepping forward to lead this much-needed Support Group.
We look forward to seeing you at our Online "Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group" on Facebook.
A Child's Concept of Death
Every child, at any age, has his or her own unique concept of death. Past experiences with death for the terminally ill child, as well as, his or her age, emotional development, and surroundings are what influence a child's own concept of death. Cartoons, movies, television, video games, and even books are filled with images of death. The child with a terminal condition may have previously experienced death by loss of a family member, friend, or pet.
An adult's misconceptions and fear about death are often transferred to his or her children. Treating death as a part of life is difficult, but may help alleviate some of the fear and confusion associated with it. Dealing with death must be done within the cultural beliefs and mores of the family.
Developmental age is a broad term used to describe the maturity of thought process development. Children may be more or less mature in their thinking and processing information, than others, at a similar age. The following are children's concepts of death, according to common developmental ages:
Infant. For an infant, death has no real concept. Infants do, however, react to separation from parent(s), painful procedures, and any alteration in their routine. An infant that is terminally ill will require as much care, physically and emotionally, to maintain a comfortable environment as any age group. Maintaining a consistent routine is important for the infant and his or her caregivers. Because infants cannot verbally communicate their needs, fear is often expressed by crying.
Toddler. For the toddler, death has very little meaning. He or she may receive the most anxiety from the emotions of those around him or her. When a toddler's parents and loved ones are sad, depressed, scared, or angry, he or she senses these emotions and become upset or afraid. The terms "death" or "forever" or "permanent" may not have real value to children of this age group. Even with previous experiences with death, the child may not understand the relationship between life and death. Death is not a permanent condition.
Preschool. Preschool-aged children may begin to understand that death is something feared by adults. This age group may view death as temporary or reversible, as in cartoons. Death is often explained to this age group as "went to heaven." Most children in this age group do not understand that death is permanent, that everyone and every living thing will eventually die, and that dead things do not eat, sleep, or breathe. Death should not be explained as "sleep."
Their experience with death is influenced by those around them. They may ask questions about "why?" and "how?" death occurs. The preschool child may feel that his or her thoughts or actions have caused the death and/or sadness of those around. The preschool child may have feelings of guilt and shame.
When children in this age group become seriously ill, they may believe it is punishment for something they did or thought about. They do not understand how their parents could not have protected them from this illness.
This idea may make preschool-age siblings of a dying child feel as if they are the cause of the illness and death. Young siblings of dying children need reassurance and comforting during this time period, as well.
School-age. School-aged children are developing a more realistic understanding of death. Although death may be personified as an angel, skeleton, or ghost, this age group is beginning to understand death as permanent, universal, and inevitable. They may be very curious about the physical process of death and what happens after a person dies. They may fear their own death because of uncertainty of what happens to them after they die. Fear of the unknown, loss of control, and separation from family and friends can be the school-aged child's main sources of anxiety and fear related to death.
Adolescent. As with people of all ages, past experiences and emotional development greatly influence an adolescent's concept of death. Most adolescents understand the concept that death is permanent, universal, and inevitable. They may or may not have had past experiences with death of a family member, friend, or pet.
Adolescents, similar to adults, may want to have their religious or cultural rituals observed.
Most adolescents are beginning to establish their identity, independence, and relationship to peer groups. A predominant theme in adolescence is feelings of immortality or being exempt from death. Their realization of their own death threatens all of these objectives. Denial and defiant attitudes may suddenly change the personality of a teenager facing death.
Adolescents may feel as if they no longer belong or fit in with their peers. In addition, they may feel as if they are unable to communicate with their parents.
Another important concept among adolescents is self-image. A terminal illness and/or the effects of treatment may cause many physical changes that they must endure. Adolescents may feel alone in their struggle, and scared, and angry.
It is important for parents to realize that children of all ages respond to death in unique ways. Children need support and, in particular, someone who will listen to their thoughts, and provide reassurance to alleviate their fears.
Unstoppable Terminal Delirium In The Dying
Barbara Karnes, RN, Hospice Educator, Author
QUESTION: What is terminal delirium? I have never witnessed a resident with such a severe case until a few weeks ago. His restlessness was unstoppable until he passed.
ANSWER: The American Family Physician website states: "Delirium is a disturbance of consciousness and cognition with a sudden onset that may be accompanied by increased psychomotor activity. This symptom occurs in 25 to 85 percent of terminally ill patients. Mental status changes can be very distressing to the family, who observe agitation, apparent fear or what they believe to be uncontrolled pain in the patient. Delirium often heralds the end of life and may require active sedation in up to 25 percent of patients.”
In non-medical words I would call terminal delirium confusion with or without restlessness. In the weeks before death a person who has entered the dying process is sleeping most of the time. You can wake them up and sometimes carry on a conversation but at other times there is just a blank stare. They often begin talking about things that don't make sense to us, seeing people that aren’t there (sometimes people that are already dead), or thinking they are someplace other than where they are. They may be picking the air or their bedclothes. They may have a generalized restlessness about them.
We, the watchers, get concerned about this behavior because it is “not normal”. It is not what people do. This IS what people who are dying do. This is “normal behavior” for dying people.
Why does this happen? We don’t really know. Perhaps it is that because the person is sleeping most of the time their dream world has become their whole world, their reality and they are talking about it. Some have good dreams and some have unpleasant dreams.
Why do we dream? Is our subconscious talking to us? As we approach death fear is in our mind on many levels and I think some of that fear manifests in dreams, confusion, and restlessness.
Decreased circulation and diminished oxygen intake can also cause restlessness and confusion. What we need to remember is that the body is shutting down. Nothing works right. The body is losing its ability to function and maintain itself. The mind is wandering and is not focused. It is withdrawing from this reality. Again, the dream world is their current reality.
What do we do about terminal delirium? Nothing, if it is a gentle agitation and restlessness, a harmless confusion. Medicate, if the agitation is severe enough that the person may fall out of bed or hurt themselves or others.
We need to keep our goal in mind when caring for people at the end of life. It is to allow a gentle, natural death to occur. We know the person can’t be fixed and that death is inevitable. We are not hastening death. We are providing support and comfort to the patient and those present so that this final act of living is a gentle transition.
Srila Prabhupada Said...
In Ahmedabad, India on December 6, 1972, Srila Prabhupada said...
"Devotees, they are para-duhkha-duhkhi. The symptom of a devotee is they are unhappy by seeing others unhappy."
Philadelphia Vaishnavas CARE
Team Leader Delivers "CARE Packages"
Here in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania community (U.S.A.), our Team leader for the Philadelphia Vaishnavas CARE Team, Sita Devi Dasi (in the left photo above; in the right photo (masked) giving devotees CARE packages) spent the day driving to various homes to deliver "Vaishnavas CARE Packages" to congregational members who, due to chronic illnesses and Covid-19. are unable to travel to the ISKCON Temple.
Sita Devi delivered containers of Deity prasadam (sacred food offered to the Lord), garlands first offered to the Deities, framed photos of Their Lordships and our newly produced "refrigerator magnets" with our signature picture of Krishna hugging Gopa Kumara. It has Sita's name and phone number printed on it so devotees know they can reach our Vaishnavas CARE team when they are in need.
We will continue to visit more families regularly. Thank you to Sita Devi Dasi for her inspirational service to Srila Prabhupada and his dear devotees!