Saying Goodbye to a Loved One Who is Dying

Saying Goodbye to a Loved One Who is Dying

Standing at the bedside of a parent or friend who is in the process of
transitioning out of this life is not an experience most people prepare
for and many find overwhelming. You can be so traumatized that you
neglect the opportunity to tell that person how you truly feel. Sharing
and listening can be a final gift to your loved one. It can also be a
great spiritual experience if you are open with statements and
ministrations of love and best wishes.

Hearing is the last sense
to go. Elicit the cooperation of others in making the passage a sacred
event, by verbally sharing happy memories and stories. Focus the sounds
of voices on making gentle conversation. There might be soft background
music but turn off the TV or radio. Do not expect a response from the
dying because their limited energy is involved in important work.

Acknowledge
the positive aspects of your loved one’s legacy. Take turns listing the
gifts and lessons the dying person has given to you and to the world.
This is a time to reassure them that they will not be forgotten and
that his or her life had value.

Celebrate and acknowledge the
special times, talents, and teachings you have shared. Search your
memory for good times, but don’t look for the major moments, rather the
small, insignificant at the time moments, that you remember. This is a
final acknowledgment of the gifts that the dying has given the living
and neither the gift nor the person will be forgotten. Use this time to
express gratitude and reassurance that these legacies will live on for
generations.

Sharing Memories

Examples of the type of memory you might recall include:

“I
will always remember the time you brought me red licorice and a milk
shake when I had a sore throat. You bit the ends off the licorice so I
could use it as a straw. It may have been hard for you to say ‘I love
you’ but your actions that day really showed me that you cared.”

“Thank
you for your vast knowledge of the stars at night. The grandkids will
never look at the Milky Way without thinking of you. They will share
the stories of the night sky with their children and grandchildren.”

“You
always loved a good cup of coffee in the morning. I will lift my cup to
you every morning and remember how much I loved you.”

My mother
told me just before dying, that my words put pictures in her mind. She
said “It is like you are putting a video in my brain that I can watch
and forget the pain.”

Make it your intention to comfort and
support the dying person with love, stories and reassurance. If you can
be willing and open to saying goodbye and good wishes as your loved one
leaves on their last earthly journey, you will both be blessed and
rewarded.

Do you have stories about the transition of life? Please share them with us by commenting on this blog.  We want to build a community of kindred spirits who have faced the loss
of a loved one and are willing to give hope and encouragment to others.

Judy
and her friend, Jane Franz, a music thanalogist, are co-authoring a
book of the same name. Publication date will be announced on this
blog.

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