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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

70 things I have learned about what to do with a dying person

Well I'm afraid I was right after all about my dad, and he did indeed make the great transition. Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts because they helped a great deal ☺

Here are 70 things that came to mind about things I have learned about what to do with a dying person. I'm not saying they are gospel, I'm just saying this is the impression I got based on my own experience. Some of it might sound a little bit weird or ‘out there’, so like I always say just ‘take what you like and leave the rest’. If you think it sounds crazy then fair enough that's okay with me. I'm just telling you the impression I got. I wish someone had told me these things before, and that's why I'm mentioning them here. There are so many things about death that nobody really talks about which seems silly to me to be honest. But because I had such a positive experience with this death I thought I would pass on what I thought had made it work. The whole process felt really good to me. I'm not saying it was easy I'm saying that it felt good and I like to think I helped create a positive atmosphere for my dad to make the great transition in, and I am incredibly happy about that. As usual I've made a post much longer than I intended it to be, so I'm just putting it out here as a reference and you can read it whenever you get the chance, or if the situation arises where you think you can be dealing with a dying person in the near future. Most of these notes refer to people with degenerative terminal illnesses as opposed to people with sudden deaths.

1. The most difficult aspect of the dying process can very often be the siblings. They don't have a program, but we do. They cannot cope, but we can. We are very lucky.
2. If you look upon the dying process of an opportunity for service there is no time to create self-centred and painful stories about the set of circumstances you happen to find yourself in.
3. Create the widest network of support possible. Get as many people on board as possible. Communicate. Ask for help. Get your AA buddies on board. Tell us many people as possible. The purpose of this is so that when you need assistance in making a very quick decision, you will have many people you can e-mail very quickly or phone quickly and he will give you almost immediate feedback.
4. There is a great deal of time pressure with the dying person. You have to act quickly. You have to respond very quickly to dangerously unconscious siblings or relatives. This is a time in your life when efficiency is a very valuable capacity to have developed in oneself.
5. Should you be unfortunate enough to deal with dangerously unconscious siblings or relatives, look upon them as newcomers. Think to yourself "this is a sick man, God save me from being angry." Try to maintain an attitude of helpfulness toward the unconscious siblings or relative. If you do this you are less likely to be harmed by them. "Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed."
6. Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to be bullied or behave like a doormat with dangerously unconscious siblings or relatives. You must keep the interests of the dying person at the forefront of your mind. They are your priority, not your personal response to the dodgy relative. To behave like a doormat under these conditions would be to deny the interests of the dying person.
7. Bring your laptop into the hospital with you or an iPhone. You will need this to communicate with your team of advisers. Your peer group. Your network of support. Communication is one of the most important aspects. The lines of communication need to be open.
8. Use Skype video conferencing to allow the dying person to have face-to-face conversations with key friends and relatives as part of their process of tying up loose ends in their life. Hospitals will often have a WiFi network. If there is no WiFi network you can have your own Internet connection by using a dongle with your laptop.
9. Protect the dying person from dangerously unconscious relatives and siblings. Take whatever steps you can to reduce the exposure of negativity from the dangerously unconscious relative to the dying person. Keep their negativity to a minimum. If the dodgy sibling is behaving in a clumsy or inappropriate or negative manner, try in the nicest way possible to bring that to the attention of the siblings so that they will take on board what you say and modify their behaviour.

10. Be prepared for short tempers and uncharacteristic behaviour from relatively stable individuals. People behave very differently in the run-up to the death. They act uncharacteristically if they do not have a program. So be prepared for stroppy unhelpful and generally chaotic reactions from people who do not have a program or service mindset. This will be true regardless of how much professional expertise they may have in other areas of their life.
11. Follow your instincts, even if everybody else is doing something different. If you have a program and you are accustomed to doing things for the purposes of service, then you may very well be the only person in there who knows the next right thing to do.
12. If you can afford to buy essential oils from a reputable suppliers such as Fragrant Earth in Glastonbury, spend money on Melissa essential oil, Rose Otto essential oil, Chamomile Roman essential oil, Pine essential oil, Bergamot. Melissa is particularly useful for people who are dying. It is very expensive so you can use other less expensive oils but Melissa is by far the best oil for a dying person. Very nice for you too. For general nice -smelling effects I used cheaper oil blends on the sheets, blankets and pillow and on the perimeter of the floor just to make a nice smell. The room smelled a bit like being in a flower shop. Very heady. Lavender essential oil on his pillow helped him sleep. I have bough essential oils from Aroma Vera in the past and they seemed to be a bit rubbish so it doesn't surprise me that they don't sell them any more. Essential oils are not cheap so I tend to buy from Fragrant earth and wait till they have offers or annual sales because it's an expensive hobby. I used to put one drop of Melissa oil on his collar instead of using an oil burner or applying it onto the skin with one drop of Melissa to one teaspoon of unadulterated pure oil of some sort. Too much palaver, so was easier just to put the oils on his pajama collar regularly. One drop of Melissa is fine. When I knew he was dying in the next few hours I reapplied all the room oils and put three drops of Melissa on his collar. I also put a drop of Rose Otto on his pajamas over his heart centre as Rose opens and heals the heart centre.
13. It is normal for people who are dying to be uncomfortable and cross about their discomfort. Do not take this personally. Your job is to be of service to their often significant physical and emotional discomfort. Don't make a problem out of it, just try to be helpful instead.
14. Incontinence is a normal part of degenerative dying process. Don't be embarrassed by it. The dying person can find it very embarrassing indeed. Don’t make it worse for them by being uncomfortable as well.
15.It can be excruciatingly agonising for older people with aged skin to endure being cleaned up after soiling themselves in bed. Even if you have the very best kind of nursing staff, this process can be excruciating. Pure agony. Why? Because when you get older the skin gets thinner. If you have had repeated cleanups in bed, the skin becomes red and raw and even thinner. Like tissue paper. Trust me it's AGONY. One of the hardest things is observing the pain they are enduring when they need to be cleaned up in bed. If you can bring yourself to do it you would be a great help if you just try to be near them and to be a comfort in some form or other while they endure this immense pain. You can hold their hand or just try to be there for them in some form or other. Don't be embarrassed and leave the room because they are enduring what you and I would consider to be torture in terms of the pain levels. Because this is the most painful aspect this is where you are really needed so try to be there for this part if possible. It takes two nurses to do this job, and can take 30 to 45 minutes to do. It is not really a one man job, even with all the equipment an hospital facilities. Tell the dying person that you would be happy to stay in the room while this is done, IF they don't mind if you do, and that you are not embarrassed. It is VERY painful for them to be turned over in bed too. Even without bed sores or anything, just being moved onto their side can be extremely painful.
In retrospect I think it might have been a good idea to do a ? course or something on how to change a person in bed, but I haven't done one so I don't know much about that. Home help can be very expensive indeed and if the alternative is to spend $1200 a week which is the going rate for live in help here, you would save a LOT of money, but like I say I didn't learn that, and for all I know it might be very difficult, but if you got a job as a carer in an elderly home it ? might be part of the training I suppose..
But basically I was AMAZED at how problematic and painful this aspect of palliative care is. Why ?? isn't there a better and more painless way of managing this very !!! basic aspect? It's shocking really that so little can be done to reduce the pain and discomfort of bed-bound dying people. Everything hurts. Catheters, bed nappy type-things, everything! Just pain and more pain.. Even just wearing a nappy and weeing is disturbing because it goes against their instinct to wee in bed, plus the drugs make them confused, so they keep forgetting they are bed bound, and asking 'Is there a toilet on this floor?' which is tragic to observe. Also the skin can get damaged if it is left in dampness, so the nappy pad thing needs to be removed regularly and that means turning them which is really ! painful.. What a horrible additional burden for them to have to bear when they are already in a huge amount of pain and discomfort due to the fact they are dying.. I can completely see how the needs of the elderly have been forgotten now. If someone figured out a way to improve upon or master this palliative care issue they would make an absolute FORTUNE as nobody else has figured it out yet, which is shocking really..
16. A dying person needs almost 24 hour a day observation to receive the right kind of treatment. Do not leave them alone in the hospital thinking everything will be fine just because there are well-paid doctors and nurses on hand. You could not be more wrong. They need constant observation in the same way a small baby might need constant observation. It makes sense to have other siblings or people who can assist you in this process. You can't do it on your own because you wouldn't get any sleep. Their pain levels can be so high that they might find themselves in excruciating pain in a short amount of time. Because the dying process involves a significant reduction in mental capability, they are in danger of being left in agony for up to 30 minutes before nurse or member of staff notices that something is wrong. This is where you come in. If you are keeping an eye on them full time, you get to know what signs to look for that indicate they are in discomfort. The dying person is not good at articulating their distress, so you need to be their eyes and ears and communicate on their behalf that there might be an issue with pain but the doctors need to attend to. Basically it's quite a demanding state of affairs to be in, and when you are dying and you are doped up to the eyeballs with massive amounts of medication that makes you feel drowsy, you are not in a good position to be able to communicate to staff that there is a problem.
17. Like any job it starts off quite confusing and difficult, and after a while it gets easier. In the beginning you miss cues and the other person suffers as a result. After awhile you begin to recognise the cues that tell you something is wrong, and you are better able to guess the right action to take. So just show up and do the job badly to begin with, and very soon you will get the hang of it. Don't stay away because you think you are being ineffective. Being ineffective is normal in the beginning.
18. Ask somebody what to do before you make a decision. You will become very tired and emotionally drained by this experience, so as a contingency check with another person before you make a decision. Ask, don't agonise on your own, and don't rush in without thinking because you'll probably make a stupid mistake either way. Communication is everything. And don't waste time either because there is no time when somebody is dying. time pressure is there and it never goes away.
19. Bring in foods that you know the dying person will want to eat. Hospital food even in really good places is usually a bit rubbish. Bring in grapes, fresh fruit, ice cream, anything that you think the dying person will find it easier to eat.

20. Sips of water are very important because dying people are just not with it and can very easily just forget to drink water or fluids. Water comes first and food comes second. But every 10 minutes ask them who they want a sip of water. As soon as they wake up first thing they need is sips of water.
21. If you think something is wrong but you're not sure, ask for help from the nurse anyway. Don't wait until you are sure that the dying person needs assistance. If in doubt ask. Don't wait until you are 100% sure that the dying person is in agony or distress.
22. Bringing pictures of key people in the dying person's life. If you have a laptop or an iPhone you can load pictures onto that and display them that way. Those small picture frames that display changing computerised images would be ideal because they could also be visible as a night light in a hospital room.
23. The first track of the meet Joe Black CD on repeat play is very soothing for a dying person. At low volume.
24. Invest in an iPod and a small portable iPod speaker such as the JBL sound stage. This will allow you to play a restful music at low volume in close proximity to the dying person 's bed.
25. Play restful music at low volume when the dying person is in the last hours of life. Play it when they are snoozing or in their hospital room as a way of making a more soothing atmosphere.
26. Put a few drops of Pine essential oil in the four corners of the room in order to diminish the effects of negative energy in that space. Use it in the hours preceding death as a way of cleaning up the energy in that room in preparation for the transition. Pine essential oil works at the subtle level to cleanse the room of negative energy. This is particularly important when a person is due to die quite soon as you want the energy in that space to be as clean as possible so that when the consciousness leaves the body it is leaving the body into an energetically clean environment. Juniper has a similar effect but is more expensive.
27. If you have particular concerns about the negativity of people or energies in that room, you can call upon Archangel Michael as a protective force, or use the Green Tara mantra as a way of protecting the space from negative influences.
28. Try to avoid bright dazzling light in the hours before death. Cosy dimmed lighting is more restful and soothing. Basically apply the same rules as you would in a birthing environment. Gentle and soothing is good. Bright and aggressive is not so good. Soothing music and soothing light levels are a good idea.
29. Hold the dying person's hand. Look into their eyes. Do not get sidetracked by your own distress or personal feelings. Your job is to be there for the dying person. Your job is to be a positive force for good for the transition the dying person is about to make. My experience is that if you are doing your best to serve the needs and interests of the dying person, that you can feel great anyway, but if for some reason you don't feel great try to bear this in mind.

30. Have faith in the process. Apply the same rules as you would when dealing with a Sponsee. Even if I meet a Sponsee who tells me they want to kill themselves, tells me they live upstairs from their crack dealer, tells me they hate everybody including me, I do not lose faith in the program. Even if it is distressing for me to hear that person say that they want to kill themselves or that they live next door to their crack dealer I do not reflect hopelessness or despair back to the Sponsee. I reflect back my belief in the program and that I have faith that if I do the right thing is the right things will happen. I stand strong in my faith. I do not allow myself to be buffeted by their distressing conditions as they present themselves to me. The same rules apply when you are dealing with someone who is dying.
31. If they have access to a TV screen with Internet you can play you Tube videos of Thich Nhat Hanh or other wise beings or senior monks and nuns. not only is it very restful but it gives them very valuable information on the nature of death and dying. Restful is the keyword. It has to be restful and soothing. Belly laughs are not really what it's about when they are very ill and weary. They may be able to smile weakly when you say something funny, but meaningful connections take precedence beyond merely humouring them.
32. Don't feel guilty or like you've done something wrong if you feel fine. Whatever your feeling is legitimate. Don't be guilt tripped into thinking you ought to the feeling some other way.
33. Use your common sense. Don't adhere to anything in an unthinking way or blindly. God gave you brains to use so please use them. Re-evaluate things, on a moment by moment basis.
34. People who are dying or have died haven't really gone anywhere. They may not still be there in the physical form they once were in, but they are merely transforming into a different form. You will just have to learn how to recognise them in their new form. So try not to entertain the idea that they have literally disappeared because they haven't. They will always be available to have a conversation with if you really want to. If you miss them have a little conversation with them.
35. People who are dying become much more sensitive to the atmosphere in the room. Even if they have spent their entire life being oblivious to subtle changes in energy, this will not be the case when they are dying. They will know what mood powerful you are in and if you are insincere. They will be much better at reading you like a book. They will also soak up like a sponge either a good atmosphere or a negative atmosphere. If you spend time with them and you are in a good mindset you will emanate positive thinking and they will benefit from that and become more positive of themselves. They are basically like an energetic sponge. Much more so than they would have been before. Bear that in mind and tried to cultivate a good mind space in order to bring that to them in their room.
36. If the dying person asks for something that sounds irrational, don't dismiss it straight away. It might very well be irrational but why shouldn't they be able to do it. It might be a silly thing but accommodate their wishes as much as you possibly can. Don't just say ‘no’ thinking that there are being silly. It might be that it's a very difficult thing to actually do that it's possible. Basically listen to their requests as though they are all completely legitimate requests. It's very easy to listen to what they're saying and think that they are just too full of drugs and I don't really know what they're saying. Obviously it depends on the person, but try to listen with an open mind and determine whether or not what they're asking is doable.
37. If the dying person says they are uncomfortable or distressed don't dismiss it as a mood that has no legitimate basis. It's very probable that they have a very valid point. They might know something about the situation that nobody else has picked up on. basically give them the same credence as you would a person of sound mind even though it's very tempting to dismiss what they're saying as drugged out anxiety.
38. Sleep overnight in their room or hospital ward if you can. Or take it in turns to sleep overnight in their room or the ward. They are at their most frail and it is really hard for them to cope so they need all the help they can get.
39. View the body at the undertakers before cremation or burial (Ask them for a 'viewing') as this helps consolidate the reality that they have physically left their body which is god for your process. Attend the funeral because this also helps your process and is a great place to be of service.

40. They will lose the capacity to speak at some point so you need to have the conversations you need to have before this point is reached.
41. The last thing to go is hearing so you can speak to them right up until the moment they take their last breath. Try not to say anything remotely negative and tried to keep other negative conversations far away from the dying person right up until the point they take their last breath. The more peaceful the atmosphere and the more peaceful conversation the better.
42. The pain medication makes them drowsy and confused so you have to become a bit of a mind reader when determining what they want or they need next. It's like trying to understand a baby who was first learning how to speak.
43. Don't be fobbed off by the refrain that the patient or the nurses need 'space'. The dying person needs love and care and attention so provide as much of that as you possibly can.
44. The more work you do before the person dies, the less 'grieving' you will need to do after they die. The more you put in the more you get out.
45. Bring in crystals or sacred objects that raise the vibration of the room in which the sick or dying person is in. Essential oils have the same effect. Placing crystals on the dying persons energy centres can be very healing for them.
46. Dying people become much more porous to negative or positive energies. Mentally they become much more childlike and spontaneous. They can open up like a flower and become like a child experiencing the wonder of life. In the run-up to the death process they are at their most receptive regarding subtle energetic things, so anything you do that improves the energy for the better will not be wasted at this time.
47. Think of yourself as a death transition midwife. Create the most beneficial conditions for that person to make the great transition in. Create most positive energetic space for that person to make the great transition in.
48. They will talk of the journey, the long road, a train journey, an aeroplane journey. Dying people always know that they are dying but they often express it in terms of a journey of some sort, often in childlike language. When they start saying things like this this means that they know they are going to die. this is normal and do not be distressed by it.
49. Because dying people are much more tuned in to the death process and unwittingly tuned into these other realms, they know often when they are going to die. If they start to speak confidently about meeting people on certain days soon it might mean they will die on that day. Listen very carefully to clues that they give you in their speech. it might sound like they are speaking childishly that if they refer to a definite date in the future when they expect to see somebody who was not geographically near for instance, this is a very strong clue that they will die on that date.

50. Sometimes people who are dying are frightened by the transition process and will have a frightened expression on their face or may move their arms around like they are reaching for something. The nurses will tell you that this is the effect of the medication, but it is probably because they are seeing things in other realms which slightly frighten them. Using Melissa in combination with a protective oils such as pine, and also using Archangel Michael or the Green Tara mantra or to create a energetic space that does not feel threatening to the dying person.
51. If you go to sleep while watching a frightening and disturbing film, you are more likely to have a frightening and disturbed dream. If you go to sleep watching a kind and soothing film you are more likely to have a kind and soothing dream. It is the same sort of thing when you die. If you die in distressing and disturbing circumstances you are more likely to have a unhelpful rebirth. If you die in a soothing and kind mind state this is very helpful for your following rebirth.
52. According to a Rinpoche with 30 years experience in the robes, death converts the experience from the more gross manifestation of body to the more subtle manifestation of consciousness or mind. Once in the more subtle manifestation of mine alone, and the experience is much like a dream. So a good way to practice for entering this particular state is to become more conscious of your dreams. Try to become better at Lucid dreaming. If you can remain conscious whilst in the dreaming estate then you have a better chance of remaining conscious whilst in the post-death mind state. If you are planning on navigating well through this particular realm the best way to practice is to become very sensitively acutely aware of the variations of mind state using the practice of meditation during your lifetime. The more acutely conscious you are of fluctuating mind states, the easier it will be to remain fully aware of the movements of the mind once catapulted into this 'dream state' after the transition of physical death.
53. There is normally a soul group in attendance or preparation for the dying person to die. The dying person may say that they see people in the room, or see a familiar loved one. They may look as though they are looking quite intently at a certain part of the room, or listening intently to a conversation that you cannot see taking place. The presence imagined or otherwise of unseen people in the room might very well be their loved one or members of their soul group. If the dying person tells you that they have seen their deceased partner recently this may be part of this particular process and do not be alarmed or dismiss it as mere fancy.
54. If you know any healers you can either put the dying person's name on a list that remote healers use. Or you can notify healers that someone you know is dying, provide their name, and they will be able to transmit healing energy to the dying person. This will not prevent them from dying but can be a significant help as regards ameliorating their stress or anxiety in the run-up to the death.
55. Flowers generate a delicate and gentle vibration to a room. Dying people are able to appreciate flowers and birds and plants in a way that people who are not dying cannot appreciate. It is a kindness to bring beautiful flowers to somebody who is dying in can therefore appreciate them in a much more profound way. They also raise the vibration of the room and bring beauty into the room. They are a celebration of life; so do not think that flowers are wasted on dying people. It is for this reason that altars and Buddhist shrines contain flowers.
56. Animals can be very tuned in to the dying person. If there is a cat or dog they may be in distress or act differently when a person becomes ill and increasingly frail and also very close up to the time of death. If there is an animal nearby it may act differently if it knows someone is dying. It may enter the room and sit there when somebody is dying or about to die. Basically if there are animals nearby they may give you clues as to when that person is due to die.
57. Make sure the dying person knows that they are free to go with your blessing. As they say in AA "we don't make friends we take hostages". Is very important that they know they have your permission and blessing to leave. And in case you are not sure that this has happened, tell them in the nicest possible way that they are free to leave with your blessing. If you are holding onto them emotionally or mentally, or feel slightly offended that they are about to leave, they may delay their departure until you leave the hospital for instance.
58. Tying up loose ends. Dealing with baggage. Take a guess as to who you think is still alive that they really value and love. Contact those people, and make a phone call to them from the hospital so that the dying person can speak to them, or set up a videoconference using Skype and give them some privacy so that they can have a conversation between themselves without you listening in. Create opportunities for the dying person to have the conversations you think are most important to them. This is important because they may not be in the right state of mind or have the clarity of thought to be able to do this for themselves. It isn't too difficult to figure out who the people they cherish are. Also if certain people insist on visiting them who you suspect they don't really like, again try to limit their exposure to them as it will just rattle the cage and they are also very mentally vulnerable and susceptible to unpleasant environments.
59. Once they have stopped breathing it is still beneficial to sit with the body for hours afterwards. This might sound strange but it isn't. It is a gentle transition so too abruptly leave doesn't seem quite right.

60. Directing love and compassion and benevolent thoughts toward that person after they have physically died is very useful for them. So feel free to say mantras or pray for them or direct any form of positive thought and feeling toward them afterwards and this will help them. You can ask priests monks or nuns or anyone really to help you do this. The more the merrier.
61. Recently deceased people are very sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people about them. So it makes sense to maintain well-being and a benevolent attitude toward that person for long as you possibly can after they have died. Basically it's like they are a very unintentionally psychic, and therefore have the ability to eavesdrop on any thoughts that you might have about them. So it makes sense to have the sort of thought that you would be happy for them to be aware of. If you are particularly distressed or emotionally overwrought in relation to their death this will be a very emotionally charged thought form which would be quite noticeable and possibly distressing for the dead person to be aware of, particularly if they felt helpless about being able to ‘fix’ that distress because they had passed on. If they were somebody who in their lifetime fell very responsible for other people's distress and tried to fix people a lot, then that personality type is going to be even more affected by the awareness of family members or friends in a lot of emotional pain due to their death. Obviously it's a different sort of experience once you're in a different realm, but by and large it makes sense not to burden them with issues around your unresolved emotional baggage in addition to dealing with the difficulties of being in a completely different form, which is quite difficult thing to figure out. Why do you think monks and nuns devote entire lifetimes to learning how to navigate through this realm? It's because it's actually quite difficult. So don't make it more difficult by creating emotional waves that will attract their attention on and distract them from the task at hand.
62. You may have dreams about the recently deceased person soon after the death. It is very important to try and keep track of your dreams after a death as you may receive messages or important information from the recently deceased person via dreams.
63. Try as hard as you can to be physically present when the person dies. It is so therapeutic and beneficial to be around the dying person that you do yourself a great disservice if you miss the opportunity to spend time with them before they die and to be with them in the room when they die. It's an exceptional and sacred moment, so do not deprive yourself of this opportunity. This is the great secret that nobody tells you. You can feel the closeness of other realms in the room when a person dies. You get to share the perception of the preciousness of life from the dying person's perspective if you care for them in close quarters up to their death. This is priceless therapy so do not miss it. I love dying people because they are the only people who have the 'correct' perspective of life. It is the people that are not dying that I find more difficult to be around.
64. Watch the film Meet Joe Black. It’s a useful perspective and quite accurate in terms of tone.
65. Dying people take delight in simple things. Plants, flowers, birds. Holding their hand. Appreciation and kind words. This is what life is for and dying people know this only too well so they are your greatest teachers.
66. Because of this altered attitude in the run-up to death, the most stubborn and defiant personalities can open up like a flower and change in ways you would not expect when death approaches. So maintain an open mind about even the most stubborn person you know who might be dying. They might change right at the very end.
67. Don't talk to them like a child just because they are sick or under the influence of lots of medication. Don't patronise them. They will know that you're patronising them because dying people can see through you much better than normal people. They will see through your insincerity and it will make them unhappy.
68. Don't be overly sentimental or awkward or embarrassed they will see through that to and it will make them uncomfortable. Be as comfortable in your own skin as you possibly can and do as much as you can to put the other person at ease. Self forgetting and being a considerate human being will make it easier for you to concentrate on putting the other person at ease as much as you can. It’s not about you, it's about them. And they will be very tuned into your distress so be a benign and easeful presence for them and they will benefit from that.
69. It's physically and emotionally and mentally exhausting looking after a dying person. If possible get them to set up a guest bed for you in the dying person's room and use every opportunity to take a power nap during the day while they are resting because you're going to need all the sleep you can get.

70. If you know any priests or monks and nuns or healers or devoted meditation people, or people in 12-step group that you know are living a spiritual life as opposed to merely talking about it, ask those people to direct positive thoughts towards the dying person and a family generally, as prayers really do work. All thoughts are prayers so any kind and positive thoughts that you can muster up amongst your friends will help tremendously. Post it on Facebook and ask for positive thoughts on there. It all helps.

8 comments:

NOS said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing, but I'm glad the situation was the best it could be. It sounds like you learned a lot, and that is very valuable.

Wishing you well,
NOS

Anonymous said...

This information is so valuable to me. Thank you for sharing it.

I am sorry for your loss, but glad that your father transitioned in this way, in a good way, with a conscious person to help him.

-invisigal

Syd said...

I am so sorry to hear that your dear father died. I found what you wrote here to be enormously helpful as we are negotiating this bout of illness with my wife's parents. We have been taking shifts staying with her mother at night. She isn't near death to my knowledge but weak from her latest hospital stay. Nonetheless, what you wrote here still applies on many levels. Thank you.

Lydia said...

Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope.

Mary said...

I am SO inspired by your strength & wisdom, and ability to write out this very helpful & comprehensive list so soon after your father has passed.It is a TRUE gift to help others transition and to be a healer in this way..for your dad, for you, and for others! THANK YOU for sharing your gift :)

I know this post will help me when my mom's time comes. She lives in a nursing home..and is fragile so you never know when that time will come....Her best friend in the home passed on this week...we were able to see her Friday. It is a blessing to experience these sacred moments...the dying teach the living how to truly & fully LIVE :) God bless you...God bless your father's loving spirit...hope and peace to you as you journey on in your grief.
Here is my latest post about my mom and her friend who passed on titled "Fly Away Angel Friend"
I posted the hymn "Fly Away" by Jars of Clay....one of my favorites!
http://maryjsnustad.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/angel-friend/

Lena said...

I landed here tonight and read your post.

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father.

My dad died about one and a half years ago and I could relate to so much that you wrote about.

It was good that you took the time to write it all down and share with people. A very valuable post.

Thank you.

Guinevere said...

This is an amazing list and resource for people taking care of people at the end of life. It should be given to the National Hospice Organization and other end-of-life care networks.

Your ability to stay present during the "no-bullshit" time is gorgeous, and I'm sure you'll value the time you had with your dad for the rest of your life. I was able to be there for my mother in the same way... It was like peeling my skin back and feeling life with all the nerves exposed. It was more real somehow. I understand how difficult it is to find words to express the nature of the experience. Thanks for writing about it. And may you have peace during this time...

SC said...

Wow...you write so beautifully. This post is incredibly informative. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending much love and light to you during this time of great transition.
Susan