What are the two psycho-social/spiritual concerns you have learned about yourself in relation to sickness, disability, and death?
The first psychological dilemma I learned about myself about sickness, death and death is that the fact that I die worries about the future and about my plan. The idea that everyone dies gives a living meaning to their time, since it will end sooner or sooner. In a way that makes me more reflective and existentially frustrated than normal in psychological terms, death affects me. I also discovered that human mortality is a root of any spiritual evaluation of a human life. All religions help people overcome fear and anxiety brought by death, dying, pain, illnesses, and suffering. Death itself is a spiritual issue because one of the most important religious and philosophical discussions is about the possibility of a human spirit and /or soul to overcome death and live further into eternity (heaven).
Death is without any doubt a psychological and spiritual issue. Psychologically it makes people either motivated to do what they want to do faster in order for their important goals to be achieved before their death (family and business or artistic legacy) or it makes people discouraged. People who are discouraged by the possibility of their own death or deaths of people around may experience a powerful existential frustration and feel a loss of orientation due to the confrontation with ultimate unknown (death). Religion helps people to justify death because all religions make it more comfortable for people to die. With spiritual efforts people can be happy, confident, and content with the fact that every living creature is destined to die once it was born.
How will these two areas of self-awareness impact how you interact with chronically ill or terminally ill persons and their families?
These two aspects of death, dying, and illness can help me very much in my interactions with chronically ill persons and their families. If I myself am confident about these panoptic and philosophically deep issues of spirituality, death, and after-life I could show this confidence to others who might share it. For example, If I myself with the help of philosophical tradition of Stoics, no longer have fear of death and do not think that death can harm me I can try to bring this understanding to a dying person and/or his family. If I am a devoted Catholic I can talk about Jesus Christ and how he is able to save a dying person and bring peace to his or her relatives. Personal approach is very important here because I cannot talk about Buddhism with a Muslim (which in any way would be unproductive) or try to teach Christianity to a complete materialist or atheist. Therefore, my personal experience should help me to achieve unity with people whom I need to calm and bring to understanding.
Psychologically the fact that all people are bothered by the fact that they will one day cease to exist makes this problem equal for all humans. All people die and all people suffer when other people die. This is the way of things. But such simple and obvious truths are hard to understand for a person who is in pain and suffers from emotional crisis. It is hard for parents to understand any religion when their small child dies without any apparent reason. I think that what might help is an attempt to prove to each person that death is not the worst thing that can happen. Technically speaking death is not even evil because it is a mechanism due to which life exists. Most people cannot understand it and it seems easier to help them to overcome troublesome conditions of their psyche by evaluating their own life in their eyes. Expression of gratitude, love, and friendship may also be useful for those who encounter death.