Thanatológiai Szemle

elektronikus folyóirat


VI. évfolyam

2002 nyár


Dear Reader,

My heart is heavy to write that our readers can take our newest issue in their hands late again. Seemingly summer doesn’t favor to the editorial work, so we are adhering to the slips that seem to get permanent. On the other hand - according to our hopes - all those you can read on the pages of the summer issue will compensate you for this tiny vexation.

In our ’Poems’ column which is in its infant age you can read the lyric confession of László András Magyar that was inspired by the early death of his cancer patient sister. Although - as we mentioned in the last issue - we neither shrink back from the works of ’amateur’ poets this time we publish the work of a poet and novelist - well known in the world of letters - with more independent belletristic volumes. This is of our great pleasure since our Readers already know László András Magyar by his medical history works.

Our first communiqué which is the translation of the introductory chapter of a report written on the authority of the Open Society Institute is going to be very instructive for those interested in the situation of hospice care. This report which was written in May 2002. examines the regions of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, numerically reveals the results reached so far by these ex-socialist countries that ’came to’ many years later than Western Europe and the North American territories in the field of hospice and palliative care. Although the data indicate that within this region Hungary doesn’t have to feel ashamed of its performance and that we possess one of the introduced model-institutes we still have enough to do - even if we only wish to get closer to the leading polish results.

The death of young people and mainly children is one of the things that are the hardest to bear for the health care workers and especially for the parents. In their case study the author-triumvirate of the Pediatrics Clinic, Semmelweis University follows the hard way of the mother of a 15 year old cancer patient boy to the son’s death and shows that many times the ’non accepting’ behavior of the patient’s relatives hinders the appropriate palliative care of the patient.

Zsuzsa Török whose excellent studies on perinatal grief you could already read on our journal’s columns this time keeps an eye on the hard grief work of a mother who has lost her child as a baby and shows how psychiatric treatment could help to resolve the compulsion for the birth of a new baby as a substitution of the former child.

The study of Alaine Polcz that is pioneering in our country serves with interesting and useful advice for the resolution of the grief problem - already analyzed in connection with the issue before. Everyone can experience day by day that his/her night rest is not ’restful’ by all means since his/her everyday problems or those that just weren’t processed for long time can haunt him/her in different forms awaking the conflicts swept sometimes under the consciousness. Our dreams - if we pay enough attention - can reflect our state of mind, our actual states in the resolution of our problems, etc. Alaine Polcz examines the dream types occurring among grieving people with the eyes of a psychologist and she gives help to all those who try to make their patients process the difficult stages of grief or they themselves try to process.

In the finishing part of this issue we direct our glances towards the past - in accordance with our traditions - and travel more centuries back in time to be allowed to inspect the ideas of the stoic and epicureanist philosophy of the late antiquity thanks to the philosophy historian Anikó Juhász. If we glance over the relationship to death in the human past’s great ages and the modification of death concept we can say in general that the manifestation - that can be seen and measured by us - of practically every age draws the attention the natural presence of death that makes us accept it and pushes the practice of personal emotions - that might contradict it - into the background.

Ildikó Horányi
senior editor







Transition in End of Life Care. Hospice and related developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. A report prepared for the Open Society Institute. [May 2002. University of Sheffield]


’Until death separates’ Case report

If the curative treatment of children with a malignant tumor disease is unsuccessful then in the remaining period of the patient’s life a bigger stress is put on not only palliative, condition-maintaining medicinal treatment but also on the mental care of the patient and his/her relatives. In this stage the main objects of the mental conduction are: to prepare for the loss, to give help in separation, to maintain an appropriate life-quality, and to provide calm and peaceful environment.

In the Oncology Department of our Clinic we have treated a 15 years old boy with a malignant tumor disease. He reacted well on the treatments but 7 months after the fast recovery the disease was resumed that led to his death within a few months. In the terminal stage onco-psychologically extremist psychological reactions were played out. The very strong symbiotic relationship between mother and son - which meant mutual emotional protection for both the mother and son - made separation impossible and rendered the child’s medical and psychological care more difficult. In the course of the case report we examine the background of the morbid psychological reactions and the possibilities for its resolution.


The stations of a depression. From death to birth

The study follows the way of a mother - who lost her three years old son in three weeks in leukemia - from the severe depression evoked by the loss to the birth of the new baby. The author reviews how the attitude and behavior of the family and clinical workers hindered the process of normal grief and that how these obstacles could be successfully resolved during a long therapeutic work.


The dreams of grieving people

This study which looks out of the centuries old traditions of oneiromancy shows the role of dreams and oneiromancy in the psychological practice of the modern age in details and draws the attention that the analysis of dreams might also serve as a useful help for experts dealing with grieving people. Dreams as parts of the grief-work help to recognize problems that consciousness endeavor to suppress, decline or not to take into consideration. The author shows typical dream types of grieving people and their relationship with the single stages of grief-work, and she gives technical advice for the many times difficult work that meant by evocation of dreams.


Relation to dreams in the age of late antiquity

In this essay the author tries to outline some insights and images concerning death at some outstanding representatives - Epicurus, Zeno, Panaetius, Posidonius, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus - of the main philosophical currents (epicureanism, stoicism) in Hellenistic philosophy. Apart from drawing the historical background - especially in the analysis of the thoughts of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius - much emphasis is put on the basic texts; that is, the author tries to invoke the image of death of Late Antiquity on the basis of the texts of the above-mentioned thinkers. Their view of death can also supply valuable and imperishable insights for our age, in many respects.



Covered mirror. Death, funerals, grief. (Ferenc Túry)