Around 85 participants, many of whom are clinical, medical and mental health professionals, attended the 14th annual Emily Schindler Memorial Lecture hosted by Chesapeake Life Center and held May 1 at Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center in Baltimore. Carla Dahl, Professor of Congregational and Community Care Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, presented “Here But Not Here, Not Here But Here: Understanding and Managing Ambiguous Losses.”
The presentation was illustrative of the many aspects of ambiguous loss and highlighted that closure is a myth. Dahl said the ambiguous nature of the loss is relational, not individual, and it complicates grief. Addressing Emily’s parents, Jane and Chuck Schindler, Dahl pointed out one form of ambiguous loss is when a person is physically absent but psychologically present. “Emily is no longer with us physically, but she is clearly present with us today,” she said.
The lecture series was created in 2005 through a gift to the Schindler family from the Saint Agnes Cancer Center. Emily Schindler was an 18-year-old freshman at Frostburg State University and a member of the SPY swim team in Severna Park, Maryland, when she was tragically killed in a car accident in 2004.
A program service of Hospice of the Chesapeake, Chesapeake Life Center serves hospice family members and the community with bereavement services and activities aimed at enhancing the quality of life for those grieving the loss of a loved one. For details, visit www.chesapeakelifecenter.org.