End of Life Work

I would like for you to look at your past and your family members and think about which half of your family is closest to their ethnic roots (MY MOTHER’S SIDE). Once decided you can start down the road of discovery.

Research the reasoning and ideas that are part of that ethnic or racial or religious group that you identify with (MEXICAN-AMERICAN AND CATHOLIC 22 YEAR OLD WOMAN) to give the reader of your work an idea why, where or when some of these customs began and possible rationales for them (FROM MY MEXICAN CATHOLIC FAMILY). This work should portray your experiences along with the group that you identify with, and the comfort level and possible deviation to that grand scheme you or your family has experienced, when dealing with death or dying.

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Your work should:

  • be three (3) pages (excluding the title, abstract and reference pages)
  • be typed according to APA style for margins, formatting and spacing standards
  • have at least three sources of which at least two are from peer reviewed journals
  • be typed into a Microsoft Word document, save the file, and then upload the file

Sociocultural Aspects

Learning Activities

Activity: Additional Questions for Self-awareness Exercise

My Life History of Death: A Timeline

This activity can be a tool for further exploration of the personal attitudes you hold toward death. It might also be useful in (a) identifying your personal issues surrounding unresolved grief, and (b) examining your own pattern of grieving. Take a moment to recall the earlier activity, My First Recollection of Death. Next, look at the timeline that appears in this activity. At either end of the timeline, fill in your date of birth and the current date. Then make a series of vertical lines across it for each death that affected you and write the name of who or what died in chronological order. Ask yourself the list of questions in turn for each death and write down your answers on a separate piece of paper.

Date of Birth: _
01/25/00 | Current Date: _

· How did you feel? I felt devastated and hopeless when my grandfather passed away.

· How did you act? I acted strong and supportive for my family.

· How did other people seem to feel? Other people felt sad too.

· How did others act? They acted sad and cried and hugged a lot.

· How did members of your family react to the death? My family members’ reaction to the death was full of surprise.

Look at your timeline. Think about your personal pattern of feeling and acting in response to significant deaths in your life.

Do you feel that your pattern was a healthy one?

______, YES
If no, explain.

Did the pattern of feeling and acting change over time?

______, YES __
____. If yes, explain.

Yes, over time my family and I came to accept the death. We were still sad but found peace in reminiscing about all the good times.

Considering the deaths you identified on your timeline, do you experience any unresolved grief reactions to them at the current time? NO __
YES ______.
If yes, explain.

Reprinted from: Donald P. Irish, Kathleen F. Lundquist, Vivian Jenkins Nelsen, eds.
Ethnic variations in dying, death, and grief: diversity in universality” Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, 1993. Permission: Taylor & Francis Group.

Death Anxiety Scale (DAS)

Death, especially in our dominant culture, is frequently treated as a taboo topic in conversation. To some extent, this tendency reflects both our public and personal anxiety about it. The purpose of this activity is to provide you with insights into your feelings about death. Read each of the 13 statements in the scale. Respond to each item by circling the appropriate letter.

True False
T F 1. I am very much afraid to die
T F 2. The thought of death seldom enters my mind.
T F 3. It does not make me nervous when people talk about death.
T F 4. I dread thinking about having to have an operation.
T F 5. I am not at all afraid to die.
T F 6. I am not particularly afraid of getting cancer.
T F 7. I am often distressed by the way time flies so very rapidly.
T F 8. I fear dying a painful death.
T F 9. The subject of life after death troubles me greatly.
T F 10. I am really scared of having a heart attack.
T F 11. I often think about how short life really is.
T F 12. I shudder when I hear people talking about World War III. T F 13. The sight of a dead body is horrifying to me.

© Design by Donald Templar, Ph.D., 1970. Adapted by permission.

Death Awareness Questionnaire

Read each item in this questionnaire and answer it by circling the response(s) of your choice.

1. How many people whom you knew personally have died in the past two years?
None 1-3 4-7 8+

2. How many of those people died as a result of ___________
Chronic Illness None 1-3 4-7 8+


























3. How many funerals have you attended in the past two years?
None 1-3 4-7 8+

4. How often have you visited someone’s grave, other than during a burial service, during the past two years?
Never 1-3 times 4-7 times 8 + times

5. How often do you think about your own death?
Never Hardly ever Monthly Weekly Daily

6. Have you ever felt that you were close to dying?
No Yes

7. Have you taken out life insurance for yourself?
No Yes

8. Have you made arrangements to donate your body or organs after your death?
No Yes

9. Which seems more tragic, a sudden death or slow death?
Sudden Slow Equal Depends

10. Which two deaths seem to be the most tragic?

Infant Child Young Middle-aged person person

11. Which two deaths seem to be the least tragic?

Elderly person


Infant Child Young Middle-aged person person

Elderly person


12. Which seems more tragic, the death of a man or woman?
Man Woman Equal Depends

13. Which kind of death seems most tragic?
Natural Chronic Accident Suicide War Depends causes illness

14. Have you taken out a will for yourself?
No Yes

15. Have you joined a memorial society or other pre-death plan?
No Yes

16. Have you arranged for someone to handle your affairs following your death?
No Yes

17. Do you want a funeral/memorial service?
No Yes

18. Do you want a member of the clergy to officiate at your funeral/memorial service?
No Yes Not applicable

19. Would you object to having an autopsy performed on your body?
No Yes

20. Where would you want to die?
At home In hospital In a hospice At work Depends

21. What disposition would you choose for your body?
Burial Cremation Donation Depends

22. Where would you choose to have your funeral/memorial service held?
At home In a Funeral Other Depends Not
religious home applicable site

23. Do you

want to select the clergy person who would officiate at your funeral/memorial service?

No Yes Depends Not applicable

24. Do you want an elaborate funeral/memorial service?
No Yes Depends Not applicable

25. Regarding viewing of your body, would you want to have the casket open?
No Yes Depends No viewing

26. How many people who were dying have you visited or talked with during the past two years?
None 1-2 3-4 5+

27. Have you witnessed someone die?
No Yes

28. Have you touched a dead body?
No Yes

29. What identifies a person as being dead?
No heartbeat No brainwaves Other

30. If you were dying, would you want to be aware of your condition?
No Yes Depends

31. With only six months left to live, how would you spend your time?
Withdrawing into myself Living in the present
Focusing on people Arranging my affairs
Denying my prognosis Fulfilling dreams
Completing projects Focusing on my faith

32. How might you react to a terminal prognosis?
Deny it Accept it Fight it Depends

33. If you were to have a chronic, terminal illness, how do you think you would endure the pain?
In silence Talk about it Medicate it Depends

34. If you were dying, would you want young children under 10 to visit you? No Yes Depends

35. Do you discern that your responses, in some degree, reflect your class/racial/religious/ethnic background?
No Yes If yes, in what manner? Yes, because a lot of my answers were based on my cultural and religious beliefs regarding death and after life.

36. Have you prepared a Living Will for yourself?
No Yes Intend to do so

© Baywood Publishing Company, Inc. Used with permission.

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