APR Update

Last weekend, I visited Washington DC for the 2010 PRSA Leadership Assembly and PRSA Southwest District board meeting. To take advantage of the location, I invited my 94-year-old grandfather and mom to come with me to visit my granddad’s 98-year-old brother who lives in Bethesda. Some of my photos from the trip are posted on Flickr.

Now, for the real reason for this post — the discussions held at the Leadership Assembly. There were three bylaw changes proposed, with the most controversial being the removal of the APR designation as a requirement for PRSA National board members. The same issue was brought up last year and voted down by Assembly delegates. I wrote about it here.

The same arguments arose this year, but the conversation turned toward the need for PRSA to have a strategic discussion about the APR and its value. PRSA National has agreed to put together a task force to address the accreditation dilemma and assess the credential to determine what may need to change in the future. The task force is being chaired by Blake Lewis, APR, from Dallas. If you’re interested in helping, contact him.

Struggling with Loss

It’s been a crazy month! Between work, volunteer activities and PRSA involvement, I’ve been dealing with family issues. On September 19, my father-in-law passed away. While a blessing in many ways, the family has struggled with their grief. I feel a bit guilty because, while grieving myself, I have been able to move on far quicker than my husband and his sisters.

It’s difficult for me to relate to their feelings. Not only do I still have both of my parents, but when my family members have died, it’s typically been after a long illness and everyone recognizes that he or she is simply suffering too much to enjoy life. In my father-in-law’s case, he had been ill for the last six or nine months. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and had been going through treatment off and on this year. On top of that, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and more.

The challenge for me is to provide my husband and sisters-in-law with comfort as best as I can. They have now lost both of their parents — my mother-in-law died in 1999 from an aneurysm. I have done some research on adult children losing both their parents, and it appears that many suffer from a sort of “adult orphan” syndrome. The theory is that, since the “comfort zone” or home base that exists with parents is no longer available and adults who have lost their parents feel as if they no longer have that to turn to in difficult times.

Has anyone experienced this? Does anyone have advise on how to comfort without intruding on the grieving process?