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A Discussion on Death & Dying
Please let me know if this is not
the right topic to put my question... I was not sure where to
this... Working with people there are situations where a special
kind of spiritual care may be
needed - especially during deep transformation processes - also
during the dying process. There
are so many ways to approach this theme. Having been with death
and dying "since my birth" I
am now joining a special group to learn more. This also is to
accompany people (if this is their
wish) during this deep transformation process. This is the background
where my question comes
Several times it was said (and written) that "one should
be honest to the ill people" - that
they have a right to know how much time there probably will
be left till they die. One should
speak to them as an adult person and treat them as an adult
person -and one should not start to
treat them like a child. Therefore they have a right to know...Knowing
that there are so many
aspects around this question and that there will be not "the
one and only answer" I will be very
happy if you would like to share your opinion about this question.
Is it helpful to tell ill people
how much time there is probably left for them till they die?
Thank you very much.
From perspective the answer is absolutely yes. Freedom to live
comes from the truth.
I agree with Earthwalker. People have a right to know. You are
venturing into an area where
there needs to be more honesty. You're going to bring a beautiful
sense of peace, truth and
understanding to the people you touch NorthernStar.
I thank you so much for your answers. Because of my own experiences
with death and dying
(therefore I edited my original post "a bit" to add
this) my own relationship is a very "friendly"
one with death and dying. I am so thankful to get this information
from you. I was afraid that
people might be shocked. Or that they would have the feeling
that it comes like a kind of self -
fulfilling prophecy. I will be with your answers a bit... They
are so very helpful! Thank you both.
Your posts are like a treasure.
I had to add my perspective to give it some new light. What
if you lied and told them they
weren't dying or they had weeks to live when in fact they only
had minutes. Wouldn't they have
trouble accepting the fact that they're dead? Wouldn't it make
it harder for them to pass through
the veil? IMHO the sooner you let them know their death is near,
the more prepared they are
when the time comes.
Hi NorthernStar, My answer to you is yes and no. First of all,
it is the decision of the family and
doctor to inform the patient. If they are not prepared for the
news it can have an adverse
reaction on their health as it may be extremely delicate and
stress of the news could cause
problems. It's not always our choice no matter how we feel about
it. So while I feel everyone has
a right to know the truth, that right is often dictated and
determined by others, not us. I say this
because my pathwork (non-denominational ministry) takes me into
this arena and it's very
touchy ground. There are legal ramifications to consider as
well for breaching that
patient/doctor/family privilege and you could easily find yourself
out in the cold before a Judge
by doing so. Please check the laws in your area regarding the
matter and those you are in
training with may be able to help you with that process...or
even know the answers. If you are in
a position to make that determination, then I would encourage
you to do so, however if that
determination belongs to someone else "mum's the word".
Cinnamon is absolutely correct in regards to death from an outside
perspective. I was thinking in
terms of it from a family decision making perspective. However
it is sad when it is not discussed
since the person knows. I remember an eight year old that was
being treated when my son had
leukemia who told the Dr. she thought that she was dying but
ask him not to say anything to her
parents since it would upset them. To me it was sad that they
missed this time with one another.
Another example was a friend, a brisky, burly man who was a
neighbor that I knew well. He was
dying from cancer and was in end stages (ascites etc.). He looked
horrible in fact I didn't
recognize him when I went into the room. He asked me how he
looked and I told him the truth
"like hell". He laughed and said thank you. We talked
for a while and his one wish was that his
wife and family would realize that he wasn't going to be around
for long but that he would hang
on for their sake. Latter in the day I talked with his wife
about giving him the freedom to leave,
that it was time. She did the next day and he passed over a
With that said it would have been inappropriate to tell the
person they were dying against the
families wished. Still if asked you can discuss what your feelings
of death are but not apply it to
them. It is a fine line to walk and especially so when dealing
with children. When we thought my
son was going to die (he was too little to comprehend (6) with
DS, therefore mentally about 2).; I
approached the subject of death with him, my daughter and the
neighborhood children with
examples from nature. This was appropriate since I loved to
garden and they all helped me. We
discussed annuals and perennials and how precious each type
of plant is each in their own right
despite the fact that some lived only a year, others for two
years and longer; then there were the
trees in the front yard, some that seemed to live forever. Fortunately,
after taking my son home to
die the BMT was agreed to an he is still with me 19 yrs. latter.
Nevertheless they we times of
closeness. Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to miss those
days by not confronting death. Even
with the BMT he only had a 15% chance of surviving. We were
as ready as anyone can be for
whatever was to happen. There was acceptance that I was not
completely in control of the
outcome. From my perspective, death is not something to fear.
It is a natural part of the circle of
life and only through embracing it can you truly live.
Thank you to you all for your answers! You helped me a lot.
I was with this theme now for a long
time. There are people saying that one should say to the ill
person how long they still have to
live. My feeling is, too: It depends... There is no instant
answer. This "possible truth" - that
comes from medical experience with the development of the illness
of other people - can be a gift
for the person. It can lead the person to "meditate"
over the life one lived up to now. It can lead
to forgive, to find peace and to find a way to Great Spirit.
(This is a very short version of
possibilities - I know... :o)) There are stories about people
who were healed after this "healing
shock". On the other hand "only" saying the person
that he/she has to live ? days and leaving
them alone with this may lead to a breakdown. It may be that
they give themselves up and get
lost in despair... (This also is a very short version of possibilities...)
For me there is a lot of responsibility in telling people what
the medical experience says about
the rest of time to live. My feeling is: If doctors tell people
in a very short way how much time
probably will be left and leave them alone with this then there
will be hopefully a frame that the
people can work with this news in order to grow and learn. It
would be helpful to check this
frame before. If people are alone it might be helpful to ask
honorary helpers to be with them to
accompany them, to listen - just to be there.
If there will be the position that I will get this information
how long a person will probably live
and that I will have to decide whether to tell them or not -
this is something I would have to be
with to look inside (and outside) - at the person, at the situation...
May be I would be with this,
speaking with them in general about death and dying, feeling
what they might be able to hold. A
very difficult position for me would be to tell them and then
to leave them alone. Knowing that in
hospitals because of the time this very often is "daily
life" hopefully I will have more time to
accompany the people through the processes.
Yes, I also feel that the answer for this question is a yes
and no. It depends on the situation, on
the person, on the frame they have to work with the information...
It might be a gift, a path that
leads to freedom - or it might be a kind of getting lost...There
is no "instant answer" - and I am
very thankful for you all to help me with this... It is also
true that there are questions of what is
allowed to say and by whom. Thank you for this advice - this
is not to be neglected! I will be with
your answers to feel and to learn. There is so much in it I
cannot get in the first reading of your
posts. I am also very thankful of sharing your personal experiences.
There is something special
about children and their wisdom about death and dying. Thank
you all very much!
There are two books that I started to work with, too. One is
from Christine Longaker: "Facing
Death And Finding Hope". She works with hospices in the
USA (and today around the world) for
a long time now. The other one is from Sogyal Rinpoche: "The
Tibetan Book of Living and
Dying." (Revised and updated version). I am very open for
other titles you can recommend to
read and to learn. If you want to add something - please let
me know. Thank you all so much!
May Beauty be with you and around you - the way that is appropriate.
Silver Eagle Dream Dancer:
I can only share an experience in this area. I don't really
have an opinion one way or the other on
it. (Imagine that! LOL!) We were in Okinawa when we got the
call that my FIL (having recently
had colon surgery) was taking a turn for the worse and the doctors
felt death was imminent.
Hubby's mother called the Red Cross who called his commanders
and within 12 hours, we were
on the plane home. That's the way it works in the military.
My father was and is a bio tech at the
hospital where my FIL was and he was keeping us up to date on
how he was doing. The morning
of the flight, my father told us that Al had perked up and that
maybe there was a chance after all.
I said ' Dad, you know they always perk up just before.' He
didn't say anything but that he would
tell us whatever he knew.
The flight from Okinawa is 17 hours going back to the states.
We received no information during
that time - except a feeling I'd had as we were landing. I looked
at the light on the ceiling of the
plane and felt 'light at the end of the tunnel'. At that point
I looked at my husband.. who looked at
me cause he knew I'd gotten something and I just shook my head.
My father picked us up. He hadn't been to work that day so he
didn't know anything. I felt - he
didn't go in because he didn't want to know but he denied it,
of course. We went straight to the
hospital from the airport.
When we got off the elevator, we were met by his mother and
rather large family. We were too
late. We missed seeing him by an hour... about the time we were
landing BTW.. and I'd felt what
I had. His mother told us then that she hadn't told him we were
coming and was asking
forgiveness for that. See, if she'd told him - he'dve
known he was dying. I'm pretty sure he did
anyway - but there would've been no doubt. He'd been military
and knew that the only reason
hubby would be sent back would be if the Red Cross had been
notified that death was imminent.
She... didn't want him to be afraid in his last hours... so
she didn't tell him. And of course, we
understood and never held that against her. I wouldn't have
wanted that for him either. Hubby
and I have talked about it from time to time. Both of us feel
it was the right thing for her to do
knowing him. So, for what it's worth in understanding - that's
my story. Would I want to know if
I only had a short time? Yes I would and that's really all I
can speak to.
Working with clients is much different than working with family
members. For one thing you are
not as emotionally and personally attached, being prepared initially
for the death situation. I do
believe in the case of clients IF the client is informed that
the process (while still emotional in its
own right as you do get attached) is much easier. You can take
a professional approach and fill
that role. When it's family issues are more intense and it's
often hard to separate from the
intimacy. In fact, I've not been able to find my way to doing
that. I become who I am to them,
daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister...the role is important
to both of us though and what
comes through is the love and compassion as well as the wisdom
we hold...at least for me.
My Great Aunt's passing came with the experience of talking
about those that had come to greet
her 3 days prior to her leaving. We discussed them, she was
shocked at her death though. I was
young and devastated, as she'd had a big hand in raising me
and I loved her deeply. Three
months later came Grandma's passing. It was sudden, no one knew,
and she'd slipped into coma.
I could only speak to her spirit to spirit. When Mom passed
she refused to acknowledge it openly,
and I still witnessed her slipping in and out dimensionally.
I could tell when others came to greet
and prepare her for what was coming. She knew, she just was
being stubborn and trying to
protect her children that she refused to see as adults and capable
of handling things. That was
Mom. But she went gently and swiftly. Daddy knew he had 6 months,
he held onto hope, and he
tried to stay. Doctors had giving him a time limit, he gave
himself to Spirit's will, held on until
issues he needed to see taken care of were settled and when
the last one was seen to he crossed 4
hours later. During the months he did have we talked and he
prayed, and he found his peace with
it all. I think it was a blessing for him to know what time
he did have, to deal with it in his own
way, and to be open.
Each of these deaths were different, and in keeping with the
nature of the individual. One of the
greatest lessons I learned through these experiences was to
see things from their perspective, not
mine. While I've been trained "officially" in schooling,
and "unofficially" through the Spirit
Elders (by the way that was more intense and all-encompassing
than the physical schooling!),
experience alone brought even more to my understanding. When
we extract our personal bias
and see through their eyes things really take on a new perspective.
It's not our needs but theirs
that must be seen to. While on a personal and initmate level
of relatives and loved ones, yes, we
are losing someone near and dear, where as a client it is a
loss of a new friend, a time too shortlived
but intense in what is achieved in that span. However, it is
the loss of one individual in our
lives and we continue on. For them it's much different. These
individuals are giving up life itself,
everything they love, everyone they love, and they are stepping
into the great unknown. At some
point they must come to accept this transition, and if we are
doing our work we help them
achieve that acceptance which leads to the process of making
peace with Spirit and the blessing
to see that life is shifting gears only, that they are changing
worlds only, and that they will live
on in spirit.
Now that's not just a figure of speech, it's reality. How do
you help them embrace that reality?
By knowing yourself that there are spirits that come to greet
them, again something you only
gain by experience. You can accept the theory, but until you
witness this in various ways yourself
it is only theory. It takes time for you to embrace that. If
you are working with your own Guides
and know this already on some level then the step may be skipped,
but you'll witness things for
yourself along the way as part of the process. Personally I
discuss their religious and/or spiritual
belief system with them. If they are open to it I teach them
to journey and meet with their own
Guides/Totems/Guardian Spirits so that they can embrace another
reality and know it for
themselves. In this way they open to the experience and really
begin to relax. If they are closedminded,
we have to work from the perspective of the theory and teachings
and that's a slower
process. Eventually most will open up and explore the path of
Those that remain closed-minded are much more difficult. At
that point when you see they will
not open their minds, the best I've been able to do is continue
to express my own perceptions and
experiences so they know I am firmly convinced of my own experiences
and the reality they hold.
I also show respect for their beliefs and they know that I can
embrace their right to them. I've
dealt with people who run to either extreme. In the end they
do not cross alone and I know that. I
know that some are shocked when they see who comes to meet them,
pleasantly so, and they do
cross with friends, relatives, and those whom they can recognize.
I've dealt with patients that are conscious, unconscious, and
trapped in their bodies by paralysis
but we manage to find our way to communication on some level.
Those willing to pray, I pray
with, those willing to explore I explore with, those who are
trapped in silence I speak to and we
work out a system of communication so we know we're understanding
one another. Those lost in
coma are only accessible by speaking to them, a one-way conversation
but I know they hear us.
In that case I have to shift to a purely spiritual focus and
journey to their Higher Self to
communicate openly. We do what we have to do, we comfort, console,
reassure, and validate all
that we can. It's important to find out if that individual has
any last requests, any unfinished
business they need attended to and to do what you can to see
those needs met. I don't do much
there myself but do delegate to family or friends the needs
of the person to see it is taken care of.
In rare cases I will do what I can if there is no one closer
to them to fill that role.
I never enter into this work from a purely mundane aspect but
balance that with the spiritual and
lean heavily there. They are moving into a spiritual world,
and while all their questions will be
answered once they arrive, the passage over needs some cushioning
through that compassionate
understanding to overcome any existing fears. There will always
be that difficult person that
refuses to accept help or open their mind now and then, but
most people are eager to open up
and talk about things. Most are very appreciative to have someone
to discuss it with outside the
realm of family and friends where they are reassured of confidentiality.
Eventually they tend to
open to those close to them, at least enough to reassure their
loved ones that they are okay with
things, sometimes that goes to great lengths as well and that's
really beautiful to see.
People have issues, unfinished business, resentments, hatreds,
hurts, wounds, anger, you name it.
They have great love and distances to cross in a short period
of time so the work does get intense
and help is often called for to accomplish it. You do what you
can and you make it clear from the
start that you are one person they can count on to see as many
of their needs filled as humanly
possible. You ask permission to call in the reserves if necessary
and respect their decision. You
respect them in all capacities and let them know this is their
control, not yours.
Alternative faiths and beliefs are being recognized today as
a necessary part of the death
process. Not everyone is focused in a traditional religious
path and if they are then they are
more than likely going to want counsel from a leader in their
own faith and that's as it should
be...it's right for *them*. Those who have lost their way, their
faith, or their tradition are going
to go one of two ways...with or against you. You have to respect
that and counsel them
There are stages of death you need to be aware of so you can
recognize where they are at and
work with them, not pushing or pulling, but gently accepting
and guiding them. You cannot take
their anger personally nor can you hold it against them. They
have a right to know their own
emotions and learn to experience this process for all it's plusses
and minuses. We have to step
back then, out of the personal space and honor their process
for what it is. Knowing these stages
and their symptomatic responses will help you immensely.
I hope this insight is not repetitive of your own training and
something you can add to that, but if
it is please see it as validation and trust that it's going
to serve you well in accepting that. A final
word...this work is painful, it hurts, you do get attached...it's
part of the human condition and if
we weren't empathetic in the first place, if we didn't have
that compassion to begin with we
wouldn't be right for it to begin with. In that pain there is
also beauty and a growing
understanding of what this means to others. Each client/patient
will bring greater enlightenment
and a lesson or two that you can use to pass onto others as
time goes on. I commend you for this
work. It's difficult. But with the right attitude you'll go
far in touching lives in a very special way.
I wish you all the best.
SEDD, thank you for sharing your experience. I felt so quiet
having read your post - peaceful.
How wonderful that such a peace was around this situation. And
so much light, too.
Guidance...Lots of friendly wishes to you.
Dear CinnamonMoon, thank you deep from my heart for your words.
Tears are in my eyes... In
the training the approach comes from the Buddhist tradition.
It is very soft and careful - not to
overwhelm people (clients) but to take care of their needs.
This also means to know the own
needs... And not to mix things... My own way is related to the
Native American way - my teacher
comes from this beautiful tradition. To work "officially"
to accompany people here in Germany
they want special trainings "they accept". So I was
and am looking for these trainings that are
"accepted". I want to thank my teacher for the Beauty
of his work in the Native American
tradition and all the things he shares with us. I am in the
process to look for "bridges" between
the things I learn in the "official" training and
the things I learn in my training with my teacher.
These are bridges I have to build - it is not the work my teacher
has to do for me. This also
includes questions I ask to learn from other people, too. This
forum helped me so much.
The bridge between the Shamanic Practitioner work and the training
to accompany people in the
dying process for me also was built stronger with your post
filled with wisdom. Thank you for
this. Reading your post I also came back to my question: Why
do I feel that I have and want to
do this work? I remember some of my past lifes and it
is part of my history. In this life I also
have my own experiences with my own death - and this brought
me to this work, too. It is for my
family, too - to work with this theme - to do what has to be
Cinnamon Moon, there is so
much Beauty in your post. I will be with this for some time
to honor the wisdom and to learn.
Thank you for the "bridges" you offered so that I
may build them. When I started to say yes to
this work my life changed - again. To see the need of the people
- and to step back with the own
ego: This came as clear lessons as soon as I said yes to this
work. CinnamonMoon - thank you
for your wisdom and the Beauty. If I do not write more right
now that does not mean that I do
not want to say more. It is that I feel that I want to be in
silence with all the beautiful posts here -
to learn, to integrate.
It's nice to see that these posts have helped shed a little
light on things for you. It's really a
process. I was trained by Spirit Elders in ritual and ceremony
for those who are Dropping their
Robes and the passage is very gently approached. It's like caring
for a small baby and singing
them a lullaby. I was so moved. Like you, accepting this part
of my path changed me too. And
like you, I was drawn to death not out of fear but a desire
to understand it. Old Memory called
this forth in me, the Elders came to refresh my understanding
and help me recall the ways, and it
had an all-encompassing view in those lessons. Amazing experience!
No matter what tradition you approach from all that you learn
is a matter of transposing into
semantics to fit the system you have to work within. If you
sit with the knowledge and see it
needed through their eyes, you'll also see how to present it
to them. Take your time, there's a lot
here that's been shared and you do need to digest it. We all
come from slightly different
perspectives but we hold the same intent with them. Since I
wrote my question here things
develop. My heart is thankful - thank you all for your answers,
the wisdom, for sharing. Walk in
Dear CinnamonMoon, thank you so much. Each day brings new things...
It unfolds... The
sentence: "Take your time..." was/is so true. A process
started - and my life changed (again).
Patience was not my first word before (when I was "younger"
*smile* Today I am 42 years old -
and I feel a difference between being 20 and 42 now...) With
the remembering life changed... As
if a circle is built... Before it was a part of a circle - now
it grows... And all the people, all the
animals, all the plants, all those who are seen and who are
not seen dance in Creation in a Beauty
that words can hardly tell... Things unfold... A process started...
I will go through this site to
grow and to learn. Each day brings new Beauty. My heart is filled
with joy - thank you all for
sharing. I want to say, too, that I am working with your answers.
It is learning and integration
work... It may be that new questions occur. I will be happy
to be allowed to ask then again if it is
yes, "it works"... *smile* The word
"Elders" is with me all the time now... Here in
Germany we normally do not (longer) have this beautiful tradition
of Elders teaching the
younger people... My teacher is here to teach four times a year
- and in between there is own
integration work to do. It is beautiful, too. But maybe it is
a different learning than with the
Elders... I also will be with this, too. There is so much wisdom
in all of your posts...
I'm glad that you are finding answers and some insights to help
you sort out others. Please feel
free to address any questions that come to mind. It keeps us
all on our toes and it's how we grow
too. If we don't have the answer we probably know where to look
for it! *S* You're doing just
Dear CinnamonMoon, my heart is filled with joy... What became
clearer now - after a long time
of intense work with this theme (I hope that my words are appropriate):
There are Elders I really
wished we would have a still intact tradition here in our country
to learn from them in order to
grow... An there are Spirit Elders who do not have to be on
this world to be seen or touched...
This year is/was a year of connecting again... Being with all
of your posts again and again
bridges are built... *joy* Things become clearer and clearer...
"Flying"/"working" with the feet on this
Earth to learn.
That's why Spirit Lodge is here. It's a gathering place to learn,
grow, and bridge those gaps
everyone has. We may not hold all the answers but we sure try
to help you find them. *S* I'm so
pleased to hear you are making progress and you are young yet.
Most people do not fully
understand their Medicine until the age of about 52 when they
become an Elder. Even then we
continue to grow and expand our range of understanding. So it's
truly a journey and it sounds
like you've come to a part you can really enjoy. The work you
are looking at doing is wonderful.
It takes someone who does not fear death to help those who are
facing it. Bless you for those
lives you will touch.
This is a subject very close to my heart. I work with death
all the time. The words below, are
actually on my website under my cystic fibrosis section. And
yes, I think you need to be honest
with really ill people. Here are my thoughts, and I've dealt
with it in such a way that family
members and patients about to cross over have a different perspective
on this subject.
On Death and Dying.
The subject of death and dying comes up frequently, both at
work, and in the pagan community I
belong to. And I am often asked questions related to this subject.
How do you face a friend when
you know he's dying? How do you say goodbye at the end? I decided
to add this section because
of this. This applies whether the disease involved is HIV, Cancer,
Cystic Fibrosis or any other,
even Old Age. Death is death, no matter the form it takes. I
deal with death a lot. I'm a registered
nurse. I work in a ward where young patients die frequently.
They become good friends. We take
them out to dinner and for drinks. See them every two months
for treatment. Have them sleep
over in our homes. They become family, we love them, and then
they die. And it happens often,
so I feel I have a small amount of experience in dealing with
I do a lot of terminal counseling. It's part of my job. And
it's hard. It's never easy to accept. What
does help though, is TALKING about it. Can you discuss this
friend/brother/sister/child/parent?? Be open about it. Be realistic.
A lot of parents are too afraid
to broach the subject of death. They either don't have the nerve,
or else are afraid of the
child/young adult not coping with the discussion. This is normal.
Yet you have no idea how
many of the children/young adults are afraid to bring up the
subject, because they feel the parent
is not going to cope. So they try to protect each other, instead
of being honest, and using the time
left, for more valuable pursuits. Talk. Communicate. Share.
Find out what he/she believes
regarding death and dying. Share what you believe. Do you believe
in an afterlife?? What's it
like??? Is he/she afraid of the actual dying? Or is he/she more
afraid of the family and friends
that are being left behind?
Remember, that all you can do is be supportive. Be his/her shoulder
to cry on. Understand that
it's as hard for you as it is for him/her. Be gentle on yourself.
You don't have to be tough all the
time. Talk to him/her about this. Be caring and empathetic.
You're in this together. He/She is the
one that has to go through the process, not you. All you can
do is be the best friend that you can
be. If you talk about it and share his/her feelings, and yours,
it'll help. And become easier for you
to accept. Don't hide from death as though it's something evil
and negative. Death CAN be a
special thing. Something to share closely when the time comes.
I have seen many special and
caring deaths. Death is a certainty in life. Nothing changes
that. What counts is the attitude of the
individuals involved in the crossing over.
Make pacts with your friend to meet and be friends in the afterlife.
I find that this helps a lot. We
often giggle and joke about what we're going to do to each other
when the time comes. One of
my guys, Freddy, promised to become a pixie when he died and
said he would cause mischief in
my house. I think he's done just that!!! I have made eternal
pacts of love and friendship with
friends who have crossed to the other side, it helped us to
deal with the reality that death is. Don't
avoid the subject. Make it something special. It's not easy.
But it's one of those hard facts of life.
It's the nature of things. Birth, Death, and Rebirth.
I would like to thank all of you for sharing in this thread
(and hope that it will continue too!). I
know that on my path I will be confronted with death, through
stillbirths, sudden infant death
syndrome, prematurely born infants... and I will be sharing
these transitions with the parents.
While I have already shared the transition of death with several
people in my life (both
professionally and as a family member), I have no idea how this
will be when it comes to the
death of an infant of whom everyone expects life, not death.
I'm very thankful for your open and
honest sharing here.
Dear NorthernStarDeer, My early steps on my own path were helped
a great deal by the works of
Steven and Ondrea Levine. Stephen Levine's 'A Gradual Awakening'
had a profound effect on
me. I started to read more of Stephen Levine's work after this
book that focusses on his and his
partner Ondrea's work with 'Conscious Dying'. There are some
truly wonderful books; 'Healing
into Life and Death', 'Who Dies', 'Meetings at the Edge'. Several
more are out there, and I know
they are readily available. On a personal note: as to the original
question - whether to tell a
seriously ill person what the prognosis is. The prognosis is
medical territory. The challenge, as I
see it, with an individual in this situation is to be there
in simple humanity.
A few years ago I was training at a local Hospice in the UK
and the question came up of how to
interact with those in hospice care. The words that came to
me in this discussion were from
Sogyal Rinpoche (Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) of finding
the skillful means to work with
the dying. Not really a technique, but instead finding the deep
resources within myself to remain
open in the presence of all my fears and insecurities. To be
able to walk peacefully and openly in
the presence of death and dying. To truly be open and meet with
a dying person in compassion is
a great gift. Note: I do not claim to have mastered this in
Honesty is a foundation of open communication, but simple being
and presence I think can go
way beyond mere words. The challenge to me is to be a part of
the healing process. Dying is
another part of the circle; the medical view of healing is too
narrow. In this sense the prognosis is
just a small part of the picture. Someone in the midst of this
profound transformation is meeting
themselves in a more vivid way than perhaps ever before. Telling
them the prognosis will simply
call to some fears and bring them to the fore. Perhaps they
will be ready for this, perhaps not.
Perhaps the family will not be ready. Healing is a part of the
interdependence in which that
person lives. A respect for these relationships is profoundly
important; our own judgements and
expectations can cloud our openness to simply being with the
process and the people in the
depths of the experience.
In short, confronted with the situation you describe - knowing
the prognosis, and probably being
asked outright by the individual what it was - I think I would
have to be honest and say 'I feel
uncomfortable sharing this without the consent of your family'.
From this there is the ground for
talking and sharing with the whole group intimately involved
in this process. Simply; it would
not be my call. If I am in the intimate circle of this persons
life; the choice is simple. But as a
caregiver, supporter, newly arrived friend it is not so clear
cut. I don't think it can be. I hope that
this may help in some way. My best wishes for your work.
Dear Shadow, I am impressed by the work you do and the ways
you found to work with Death
and Dying. I am not very well informed about the Pagan way of
working - but the days before I
felt post that this would be a "topic" that would
cross my way, too. :o) So please let me thank you
for this, too. There is a lot in your post to be with for me.
I read the posts - and then I start
working with what I got. There are doors I got contact with
reading your post - and I am
thankful for these possibilities. Shadow, I would like to ask
you a further question - hoping that
this is okay for you. May I ask you whether you feel "tied"
(it is not easy to find a really neutral
and appropriate word, so please forgive me if the word does
not really fit ) with the pacts you
make with the people? The question came up whether this would
keep up a connection that - may
be - is no longer appropriate after death. I am not sure about
this - and asking this I wish that my
question is put in words that are filled with interest and that
the question is appropriate. Thank
you so much, Shadow, for sharing your wisdom and experiences.
It helps a lot.
Dear EarthSky, thank you so much for your answer. I will look
for the books you recommended -
books help me to keep the focus on a topic (even thruogh taking
them with me - they remind me
"physically"...). I visited seminars given by "Rigpa"
(in the tradition of Sogyal Rinpoche) and
there are some wonderful "tools" that were integrated
and that help - as you described it. Just
being present is one thing that sounded so "easy"
(and from the outside it looks like as if one
does do nothing ) but it is one of the most beautiful gifts
that may help through a situation. It
changed a lot in my life and in my work. The thoughts you gave
about saying a person how the
situation is form the medical sight give me direction to be
If it is not too private may I ask whether you also work with
"Tonglen", one of the practices
Sogyal Rinpoche offers, too? But please feel deep inside whether
it is okay for you to answer
because for me it is a very subtle and also delightful "tool".
It may be that writing about it is too
"hard" and I personally prefer to write about it in
a very general way... For me it is something
that is to be honored. My experience is that this practice develops
and also changes from
situation from situation - feeling again about this afterwards
it feels that it just changed in the
way the situation "needed". I also feel very comfortable
with the stepping back of the own person
and just being present and open for the things that have to
be done. This goes hand in hand with
my work as Shamanic Practitioner - stepping back... The posts
from Cinnamon Moon helped me
a lot to bridge and to integrate the work - it is a beautiful
experience to learn in this forum.
EarthSky - lots of friendly wishes to you!
Dear Mouse, since some days now I start in the morning reading
the posts - and then the work
begins (besides the "daily" work here.. *smile*).
This forum is such a help... Sometimes I come
back to a post because after a while the "message"
unfolded... It develops and unfolds step by
step - I am thankful that there is time for integration work...
Lots of friendly wishes to you,
Mouse! (Awww - I like these little emoticons - and this one
is sooooo "niedlich" (this is German
and means: lovely...)) Hehe - to connect again.. :o)
Of course I don't mind your asking. I think it's a good thing
to discuss this among friends.
Reading this particular thread has been therapeutic for me.
As we speak, I have a patient, Wayne,
who recently had a lung transplant, hovering between this world
and the next. He's doing well,
though, yet nothing is certain, and death has been constantly
within our conscious minds the last
few weeks. My work....well....It's hard, emotionally, but SO
rewarding at the end of it. You see, I
am used to seeing these young patients die by the time they
reach forty. Wayne is 40 now, and
we don't know how well he's going to do. He and I have discussed
death, at length, and yeah,
made a pact if he should cross over.
Do I feel 'tied' by these pacts? No, not at all. It's just that,
when we discuss death, like before
Freddie died, he was 28, who swore he'd come back and tease
me, we tell each other, that no
matter which of us dies first, we'll let the other know that
we're okay, on the 'other side'. When I
discuss death with a patient, it's not specific focus on the
fact that THEY are the ones dying. I tell
them I could be hit by a truck going home. We all have to die....it's
a matter of when, and there's
not much we can do to avoid that.
Sometimes, not often, I feel them close to me, my special patients...like
a breeze against my
cheek, or a laugh behind me and then they're gone. It's not
like they are tied to me. But they let
me know they're okay. We have bonds that transcend the physical.
Tracy, Bee, Angus, Jacky,
Natalie, Michael, Tanya and all the others. Tracy died on the
8th of September...not even two
months ago, and I know she's okay. I literally saw her standing
in the doorway, grinning at me. I
looked again, and she was gone. I think that it's critical....talking
about death. Simple chats,
informal talks....but most often you'll see. People are not
stupid. They KNOW that their time is
coming, and they feel awkward discussing it...their fears, their
worries, because no one else will
discuss it with them. That's the problem. I'd rather know how
someone felt about dying, when
told, and understand their fears, reassure them, so that the
don't die afraid and scared of what's
coming next. Death is natural, and can be beautiful....if handle
honestly, compassionately, and
with dignity. Don't lie, or hide the truth about time left.
Subconsciously, they KNOW. Discuss it
And I don't mean bawling your eyes out over them, but if you
broach the subject, most times,
they'll tell you that they are ready to die, or afraid to die,
or afraid of leaving loved ones behind,
or whatever the case is. This is fairly common, and these loved
ones need to convey that it's okay
for them to let go. Which is NEVER an easy thing. Of course,
each situation is individual, and
needs to be weighted on its own merit. but I believe in honesty.
I'd rather be prepared for death,
I'd hate to have it hidden from me. I have seen that too many
times in the last 10 years, and it's
sometimes just not fair. And as for the religious connection
to death and dying and these patients,
it really doesn't have much to do with paganism. Most of them
are Christian, but death is
universal, and transcends religion. So I tend to go with whatever
makes the patient comfortable.
If they believe in 'heaven'...cool, if they believe in reincarnation...cool...I
tend to blend beliefs
together, and it makes them happy. And that's what they need....happiness
and peace and relief,
so that they can cross over without fear. Anyway, that's me,
Shae The FireWitch:
This question was posed on my web site and felt it would bring
about some interesting
discussion..I also shared my own insights on this as well
do your faiths deal with such
things. When a loved one is on their death bed or already crossed
over and it is time to say
goodbye and return them to the earth. Do you have preplanned
procedures? do you just do what
feels right? do you call on your spirits or just work with the
spirit of the departing/ed and wish
them safe journeys? How do your ways intereact with the ways
of your family and friends. Can
you do your personal rites for the departed in public? or do
you have to keep them to yourself, or
cover them in the religion of the people you are working.
As a minister who works in both the Christian and Pagan worlds,
I work with the person or
persons on an individual basis. Many families in my experience
has discussed what "needs to
happen" or what the loved one "wants" in that
situation. I have conducted crossing over rituals
for loved ones while the family is present. Other times I have
worked with the family to create the
ceremony or service that people will be happy with. Many times
religion is not the issue. I think
honoring a person's spirit and who they were in this life transcends
the whole Christian/Pagan
issue. For me, I have officiated, witnessed and been part of
blended Christian/ spiritual
ceremonies to Catholic memorial masses.
The death and dying process presents it's own set of standards
and practices. I find that overall
the letting go process is about relationships, Love and the
support you find within those loving
supportive relationships. It is an intuitive, instinctual and
energetic process for all concerned. I
think there are some basic guidelines that cross all religions
and they should be observed. The
one thing above all else to remember is RESPECT. Respect for
the process and for the parties
As for my OWN personal practices, I tend to be very instinctual
about these things, and if the
situation calls for me to perform my own personal right, I will
do so, but keeping it either private
or blending it to fit in to what is going on. I work with the
spirit of the loved one who is departing
if they ask me to, and I work with my own guides to assist in
this process. Many times when
working with spirits, you can do this in such a way it is unobtrusive
to the family and still aid the
loved one. But, we cannot forget the family and their own spirits
as well. Families have their own
traditions and customs which at times like this provide a much
needed sense of continuity and
routine. Familiarity is really crucial in times like this because
you are dealing with so many
unknowns and walking into the uncharted territory of death and
dying. The lines of Christian
and Pagan traditions disappear, at least for me. I tend to blend
both in my own rituals.
I feel called to share my own dad's funeral rites back in 1990.
My dad was not a religious man.
He drank, smoked, lived and played hard, a country boy who fished-just
the salt of the earth. He
also just happened to be very successful in the finance industry
and was a noted "ball buster" in
business circles. He was spiritual, grew up in a Methodist home,
but never went to church.
When he passed suddenly from a heart attack at 42, we were all
in shock. But his wake and
funeral were filled with tears and laughter. We buried him eight
hours from our house and about
hundred and fifty people drove the 8 hours just to attend services
for my dad. The night of the
visitation all of his friends, some family and business associates
gathered at a local bar. There
were toasts, remembrances and stories, not to mention all of
his drinking buddies telling stories
of my dad and some of his escapades with them- many not so dignified,
but funny as hell, and
showed my dad for who he really was. They shut the bar down.
I know because I was there.
The next day at the funeral, the minister who was hung over
(LOL), who also was my dad's
college roommate, talked how they stole the college nativity
scene and used it as decoration in
their dorm room. People shared stories of my dad, and we laughed
through our tears. For music
we played George Jones Songs- which was Dad's favorite. God
was mentioned only because my
grandfather wanted a Psalm read. His funeral was big, rowdy
and loud. Non-traditional and in
your face. Traditional Christians would have fainted dead away
from shock. But the whole thing
was SO MY DAD and what he was about!!! We joke he would have
I know for me personally- I have made some plans and have set
them out for the "what if". But
basically it is burn me up, have a party with me on the bar
in a jar, lots of music, flowers,
alcohol and celebration, tears if you need them ( a good old
fashioned Irish wake), then return
me to the Mother in sacred space. Kind of crass, but that is
it in a nutshell.
The main advice and what my instincts are saying is "Be
flexible and honor yourself". You and
the family will understand that everyone needs grieve in thier
own way- however they need or
choose to do so. What are your thoughts on this?
I promised long time ago to come up with a summary of a book
I read on the subject, but at first
I like to comment. I think it´s great if you arrange a
funeral in a way the deceased would have
liked instead of sticking to a tradition, in doing that you
honor the deceased. I like the American
tradition, where everyone can stand up and say something at
the funeral - in this country the
tradition is that it´s the minister of the church and
only the minister who says something. I know
that in Thailand they believe that the deceased is still around
until everyone has said what they
need to say and they get together for days maybe weeks and talk
with the deceased before the
funeral takes place. I believe very much in Buddhism and not
less after I read the book "life in
death" by Tove and Steen Kofoed which has been created
after a clairvoyant journey. It´s a very
short summary so if any questions arise, I´ll gladly try
to answer them.
The theory of the book "life in death" is as follows.
Dying is a 4 step process and the first step is
to realize and accept that your body is dead. Until you do that
you stay in the physical world,
confused and without control. Some of the things beside denial
of death, things which can bound
you to the physical world, is the need for alcohol or drugs
and relatives sorrow. So the first and
most difficult part of the dying process is to let go of life
on earth - when you do you move on to
step 2 where you learn to move around as a spirit. You can still
move around in the physical
world and whatever you imagine will happen. As soon you think
about somebody, you are
beside that person as well as if you think of a certain place.
At this stage you have a guide, but he
(she) will only be around you when you think about him and you´ll
get glimpse of the divine
light and love.
When you get enough of travelling around as a spirit and feel
ready to move on you get to step 3
which is a reflection of your past life and lives before that.
Along with your guide you´ll go
through everything in your lives which you have to learn from
in order to make it right in your
next reincarnation. You don´t feel pain or sorrow, it´s
just a reflection and understanding of what
you did right and wrong. It´s said to take 3-8 months
to go through this part of the process and
when it´s done you are carried away by a tremendous light
and love (step 4). The book doesn´t
go beyond this point, but I think that when you´ve got
a got long rest flowing in light and love
and when time is right you reincarnate. I believe that you are
told about the life to come and
accept the conditions before you reincarnate.
Shae, I think you said it all, there's little else I can add
since I agree with you. Being that I work
with those who are terminally ill and help them come to terms
with death itself, I find the most
important factor is the person. They are the ones who are leaving
and going through the
experience and it is in that light "Theirs" that I
find focus is dictated. Family and friends need to
be considered but only in the light of what this person wants
and their views need to be
supportive or it needs to be explained that they can apply them
when it's their turn to go through
I'm rushing through here today so I'm not being tactful about
this, but when family and friends
are contrary to the individual's wishes I find a way to turn
that toward them and ask: "What if
you wanted this type of service you're describing and someone
else stepped in after you had
crossed over to change everything?" That usually opens
the door to compromise and adaptation,
and their minds to seeing that it's just another way of expressing
something similar, traditionally
that can be an abjuration of what they would do, but the intent
behind it is the same. I do all I
can to mediate any differences but firmly believe we are a part
of the whole and it is the person
who needs to be the focus of the rituals and gatherings, not
those left behind.
While the grieving of family and friends need consolation and
transition too, that's something
that comes over time and can be worked into things as you go
naturally. I doubt you'll find too
many funerals where everyone thinks it was "lovely"
it is conducted as a Native
Honoring Ceremony. You can't please everyone. However the individual
being celebrated and
their wishes should be honored above all else IMHO.
This question has come at an interesting time for me. Last week
in meditation at my friend's
house her mum visited with 2 messages, that she asked me to
pass on. I immediately knew and
felt the implications of these messages. It was difficult passing
this to her but a part of her
already knew what I was telling her and the resistance. Two
days later I visited someone I've just
come into contact with, at her home. She had a dying blind dog
under the table . Her frail mother
came through the door and sat down. I immediately saw two spirit
friends standing over her. This
lady is dying. I felt in fact that this woman was more in spirit
than here. Her daughter refused to
have the suffering dog put to sleep 'just because he was old'
and mother had been resuscitated.
Daughter noticed that mother was continually looking for something
which she felt she could not
help her mother. Yet to me the message coming was as clear as
day-- let her go. Mum was
hanging on until her daughter understands. Mum kept coming to
sit by me and the light from her
was beauitful but agitated. How do I approach this one? Her
daughter is spiritual because we
chatted for hours on the subject. But this is very delicate.
Shae, I love your term about "blended" religions.
I've been to lots of funerals and found that
mostly people get out of them what they bring to them. Been
to some wonderful funerals and
some ghastly ones where the immediate family were so busy fighting
over what they wanted done
THEIR way they completely forgot who they were really there
for. Sad when that happens.
I am a bit in a hurry and please forgive me not to step in too
deep here. But I wanted to give
(again, well, I know, it is again the same books...) some titles
that might help a lot to answer
many questions. Christine Longaker (she founded one of the first
hospices in the USA): "Facing
Death an Finding Hope". Many practical things - not bound
to a special religion. It is about
spiritual care. Snce about 20 years she is helping people all
over the world to accompany people
during the dying process - spiritual care. Sogyal Rinpoche:
"The Tibetan Book of Living and
Dying." A veeeeery practical Buddhist approach - but it
is not bound to a special "religion", too.
This is Buddhism, too, accepting that "tools" should
I experienced that it is important to let the person feel that
there was and is a sense in their life
they lived - and in death. It makes the transition more easy,
it may help to let things go... And it
helps to come to peace for the person. It may help to be honest
(with respect and not putting
things over them, not shocking them) with the person who is
dying - to speak from the heart and
to say if we feel insecure. Being yourself. Creating a sacred
space where healing may happen -
where they can let go things that hold them here...Not to force
anything but to offer it. Listening -
without judging. Letting the person speak from the heart and
to let things go - letting go old
things before if possible - offering this sacred space to listen
and to accept without judging - the
person might want to let things go and not to take them with
them - listening is accepting and
helping... Not to take anything personal! Whatever the person
says - being open but not take it
personal. Things may come out that are to be released but not
meant personally for the listener.
Just let go... Being open and present with a caring heart...
Do not try to "save" people... Things
will happen the right way... Offering help where it is appropriate
- but not trying to "save" them
against their will... It may be that things happen on a level
that we do not see and get - being
there and accepting might help a lot.
Shae The FireWitch:
First I will say this is my personal opinion and may sound a
bit "soap boxy" but I feel this needs
to be said...as a minister, psychic and especially as a medium
and fellow spirit
worker...Regarding passing along messages from "spirits"
to unsuspecting parties- my advice is
"NO WAY.".. Unless that person has specifically asked
to receive messages from people on "The
Other Side", my advice is keep it to yourself-unless you
are asked by people to share.
You could be walking into a potential mind-field with that person-
especially when you are
dealing family dynamics. I know what it is to be approached
by spirits with messages and you
feel "the urgency" to pass those messages along to
the parties who need to receive them, and
those parties have no idea you're talking to their loved ones
from the Great Beyond. Blurting it
out as a general and professional rule is a major no-no in my
book. Hang onto the messageswrite
them down if need be. If Spirit wants you to share, Spirit will
create the opening for you to
do so. If you feel called to share it with someone, ask Spirit
and the "spirits" who have shown up
to work with you to create the "right" moment. Normally
when you do this, it will happen. Just
my two cents- and I'll get off my soap box now...
Your post is beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing
your thoughts, I couldn't agree
more. Along with giving Reiki and other types of healing to
the patients and their families at our
local Hospice, I am also a Grief Therapist. In the beginning,
the reality and limitations of human
morality was the first lesson I learned. The second was learning
how little I understood the
dynamics of dying and grief and how much I needed Creator's
help and inspiration to learn.
Today, many years later, I feel privileged to have known these
people and their families. I
consider it a humbling experience and an honor to have shared
their journey and I pray I was of
some comfort to them. In all honesty, they taught me and continue
to teach me far more than I
ever imagined. They have changed my life forever!
"While the major religious traditions of the world affirm
that there is some form of existence
after the death of the physical body, Tibetan Buddhism describes
in great detail the possible
forms of this existence and the myriad experiences which are
part of the journey through the
bardos (steps of transition; my own information given here)
after death. These teachings
increase our understanding of what the person who has died might
be experiencing, and how
family and friends can offer him invaluable spiritual support."
This is from the book of Christine Longaker, who also helped
to build the first hospices in
America, too. She is teaching how to accompany people during
their death process - and also
after "death". Her book "Facing Death and
Finding Hope. A Guide to the Emotional and
Spiritual Care of the Dying" holds a lot of information,
practices and help - for own
development, too. She also describes (a bit shorter than the
following book) how the dying
process takes place, the different steps, and what happens after
the "clinical death" and before
we are born again (if this has to happen)...
Another book, which describes the death process in its details
and also the steps after death and
how we are born again (if this has to happen) is the book from
Sogyal Rinpoche: "The Tibetan
Book of Living and Dying." It is full of love and knowing
and understanding - with a lot of
practical help, too.
In my own work with the dying I found it very helpful to know
more about the steps we are going
through in our dying process. When a person does not want to
eat any more, or when drinking is
refused, when people hear the loved ones around - but no longer
(can) react - all this helps me to
understand and to respect what is going on. There will be no
"forcing" them to eat ("Awww -
he/she SHOULD eat!" or "He/she SHOULD drink!"...)
At certain steps, when the essence is
floating back to the main spinal in our body, preparing to leave
and to go on, these needs of the
body step back. "Forcing" people then may disturb
important spiritual processes that are taking
place. Also injections may "hurt" in a special way.
It is very important to be able to have the
possibility of distinction when still help is needed and when
the spiritual and very natural
processes are taking place. All this to offer the appropriate
help. Also to allow some time after
the body is declared as "clinical dead" - what is
going on the next about 20 minutes after this?
In the books we also get hints how to offer support during these
processes, how to support the
soul after death.
We also get to know "that it is NEVER too late" to
help people - also after death - to move on in
a beautiful spiritual way.
Love to you all - and may we see the Beauty and the possibility
of learning - in order to grow -
from the dying. I am so very thankful from deep from my heart
for the Beauty I was/am allowed
to learn form them. They are some of the best teachers I ever
had. Even during this so important
time in their lives they were willing to share - in words and
in silence - and to teach me - as an
innocent student who was allowed to learn from these beautiful
My Father is getting to the stage where he has difficulty swallowing.
He still is somewhat
interested in eating and he does like to drink. His aides do
have to be very careful about choking
avoidance. This swallowing difficulty is a more recent occurrence
and the choking is a greater
difficulty because when he coughs he refuses to open his mouth,
thus endangering himself
further with possible aspiration. We are still trying to figure
out nutrition and make sure that he
has nutrition supplement drinks in flavors he likes or liked.
From a bad experience with our
Mother we have decided that we will plan not to do tube feeding
for him. I'm not requesting
medical advice ~ i am just wondering if you have any insights
you can share about this kind of
thing. Thank you for reading. There's more, but maybe in a separate
post later. I just don't have
the words right now.
My heart is with you - so much compassion for your Father, for
you and for your family, Minna.
What you describe is just what I experienced with one of the
people I was allowed to be with. It
was Alzheimer, too - and the aspects you describe happened there,
too. I will be with this -
because there are some things I will have to be with before
posting. It will help me a lot, too, to
get my thoughts clear about things.
Minna, please let me say that you may want to sit in silence
with your Father, asking him in
silence what is to do to help him during this time. The answers
may come from heart to heart -
you might "simply know" (whether to feed him, whether
to touch him, whether to let him in
silence for some time to do his own inner work - they are doing
a lot of this work...). With the
beautiful man I was allowed to learn with during his Alzheimer
time I sat in silence talking to his
best inner aspect - and answers came. We had a way of communication
then that was beyond
time and space. This may help us a lot while we look for more
information on the "mundane"
level. It will make us feel more secure, then...thank you for
your question. I will be with this a bit
to get things together - in me and from books I have (to give
more aspects to be with, then...Love
to you all, Minna. It is a time of learning and Beauty - even
if we sometimes might not see it.
Trust in Beauty...
Thank you, NorthernStarDeer*. The last time i visited with my
Father i was having (still am -
working on letting it go to Spirit) troubles with my oldest
child (34). I don't think he knows me
anymore, but when i walked into his bedroom he held out his
arm to me. As i held my arm out to
him he hugged it to his stomach. And held my arm tight with
both of his. And he whispered
something to me. (I can't understand him anymore.)
I just started crying, loud. And he held my arm while i cried.
Then, i apologized to him for the
grief I have given him. I had done this before, but not from
such an understanding of what pain a
parent can feel with a grown child.
I talked with him a bit after this. He was an agnostic before
he forgot what he was. I told him that
he didn't have to be afraid. That when he was ready to leave
that he would go to Heaven and that
his family would be there waiting to welcome him. I told him
that he could go whenever he
needed to, and we and he would be all right. I told him he didn't
need to go till it was time, that
he had enough money to stay as long as he needed, but that when
it was time, he would be safe
and loved and all right. I hope this was a good thing to do.
It felt very blessed to have his comfort
and i thanked him for that so very much. I thanked him for being
my Daddy. All those years, and
even now. He looked in my eyes almost the whole time and whispered
from time to time. I told
him that i love him.
With his disappearing from us, and from himself, I didn't know
I would still have such grief.
Been having a lot of generational grief this week. I looked
at his dear face, and know I will miss
it. I will miss the mystery of who we all are, and the fact
that, much as we are so long with
someone, we often don't get to know the great mystery that this
person is, and there comes a time
when it is too late to learn. I will try to communicate with
my heart when I sit with him, as you
suggested. I usually rub his arm, or his face or his hair. I
hold his hand. I don't know if he would
have permitted or been comfortable with these things before
he forgot who he was. But I can do
this now with tenderness. I know his Spirit is all right. Thank
you for letting me express myself.
I feel with you - and there is so much compassion for you and
your loved ones. Please let me say
that I know what you describe... Also the reaction to take the
hand, to place it on the body... I
hope to be able to write soon more about this - also I hope
to be allowed to share more about
what I learned from the man I was allowed to accompany... It
is so beautiful and helpful what
you did - to confirm that you all are safe, that you have enough
to live, to tell him that it is okay,
that you are supported. And also that he may feel safe and well...
Trust, that he understands -
even if not in words, but on a "all knowing level"...
The feeling he gets when you talk to him also
will let him know what you express with words - more understanding
will be there for him with
the whole being than only with words... To touch him softly,
if he allows this, to speak to him, to
sit in silence, to create a beautiful atmosphere... They get
it "with their whole being"... They slip
in an out - their spirit slips away and comes back again - no
longer fixed to the body as it was
before - they are wandering between worlds - but not in a coordinated
way - somehow out of
control (and this can make them sad or afraid, too, sometimes
they even can express this, they
even may feel ashamed for this - I experienced this, it makes
us so sad - but it helps us to
understand and to have compassion...), they are often mixing
realities, mixing time, people,
shape ("Who is this person? You look like xxx..."
- but in fact it is somebody else... They may only
"remember" that xxx had dark hair - and now seeing
dark hair it is xxx for them...)... The
connection between body and spirit is getting "flexible"
- but it is not really under control... So,
this is a suggestion, do not only speak, but communicate on
other levels, too - trust, that they
might get it...
Minna, this is a very short answer
- I hope to write more, soon. There is a reason I
did not answer more up to now... I hope that I am allowed to
share more very soon.
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