May 14, 2009 By
Have you ever sat with someone during the dying process? I have been honored on several occasions to be with the dying. Many times, it was simply to “just be” with the person, hold their hand, massage their feet, or simply listen as they expressed their concerns for the sons and daughters they were going to be leaving, or hear them review some of their past joys in life or express their grief and sorrow over leaving this life. One of my dearest friends died last October after over a year of fighting cancer and enduring months of chemo. Just a few days before her death, she told the doctor that she was going to beat the cancer by fighting to get into a trial or pilot cure. She really never accepted that death would happen even as her liver was shutting down in the hospital. This was extremely difficult for her friends and family as she was really leading them to believe that she would somehow survive even though they were at a minimum a “little” skeptical of her positive attitude. So when she died, there were and still are confused feelings. This friend was my second dear friend that had refused death from terminal cancer up until their dying moment. While there really is a lot written about the importance of a positive attitude when faced with cancer–the attitude has saved many and helped the body heal; there is a loss of not being able to grieve with the person while they’re still alive. Because of these two friends, I have added a tab with a number of “grieving” web site links that I’ve found helpful and if you know of others, please email me and I’ll add them as well. It’s really important to grieve and helpful to be in touch with others who are also in the grieving process so please check these web sites out if appropriate. I also wanted to share some thoughts on that wonderful organization called Hospice–what a gift to us as we’re all going to die and Hospice has professional staff plus many volunteers to help the dying person and their family before and after the death. I have read and done much research on death and dying from many religious faiths including Christian and Buddhist texts and authors. Going through the hospice volunteer training is greatly valuable and I would recommend it to everyone–even if you never sit with the dying as a volunteer, you’ll still have to face death eventually and the training is unquestionably helpful from a personal growth viewpoint as well as for actually assisting and helping the dying.
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