What Does the American Civil War Teach Us About Contemporary Death and Mourning?

Join the Humanities SIG at the Assembly in Boston for an illuminating discussion of the award winning book, This Republic of Suffering, on Saturday, March 6, 12:15 – 1:15 pm. Among the questions we’ll discuss:

This Republic of Suffering

Prior to the Civil War, the end of life process commonly occurred at home, with family, the family physician, clergy, community members, and others with long-standing relationships providing care and support. Funerals were commonly held at the local church, providing family, extended family, friends, and community members a place to express and share their grief. Custom also provided for public mourning, allowing the bereaved to openly express their grief, and for others to recognize and offer support. Circumstances of the Civil War – which in today’s population would equal 6 million deaths – profoundly changed these customs.

In contemporary America, when asked to describe how one wishes to spend one’s final months and days, respondents will often describe a scenario resembling a pre-Civil War process. Yet this ideal is frequently not achieved. In what ways does the contemporary end of life process reflect the death, realizing, and mourning processes experienced by many during the Civil War, and what interventions can end of life care practitioners consider to achieve the goals of the individual, their family, and community in such circumstances?

Come share your thoughts, learn from others, and take away new insights to apply in your practice. See you there!

Charlie Sasser & Karen Whitley Bell

1 thought on “What Does the American Civil War Teach Us About Contemporary Death and Mourning?

  1. I have just lived through this with my 91 year old father. There are many thoughts when considering palliative care: what impact does it have on the patient, what is their quality of life, can it be improved, what would their wishes be, and how does it impact you as the caregiver, as well as other family members. http://is.gd/8bFwW

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