This is the reason that I've selected the topic of Being with a Dying Person as the another topic for Sacred Life Sundays.
Sharing the End of Life
Sharing the wonder and the terror of being on the edge of being is bearing a witness to a person's final journey. Walking with a loved one or a patient on this sacred final path is a very extraordinary and intimate experience, as we learn the importance of just being.
- Not every patient can be saved, but his illness may be eased by the way the doctor responds to him...
In learning to talk to his patients, the doctor may talk himself back into loving his work.
He has little to lose and much to gain by letting the sick man into his heart.
If he does, they can share, as few others can, the wonder, terror and exaltation of being on the edge of being.
Being a Healing Presence
Often the most difficult role of a physician or a family member is knowing when to "let go" with someone at the end of life and just "to be." We may feel as though we have little to offer the dying patient, yet these wise words from Anatole Broyard, a dying patient, can help us to realize that illness may be eased by the way the doctor (or the family) responds to the patient.
There is a healing power in human presence in simply being.
Just BeBe yourself and relate person to person.
Be ready to listen again and again.
Be aware of feelings and non-verbal cues.
Be comfortable with silence.
Most of all--Be there.
© Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen offers the following description of being and sharing true intimacy.
- We experience intimacy not by sharing words,
but by sharing the silence.
Sacred Life Sunday
This post is one of the Celebrating Sacred Life Sundays Post, a weekly celebration of what is sacred and special in our life. See the first post on Sacred Life Sunday to read more.
Dyer, K. Healers and Healing. July 1998. At: http://dying.about.com/od/poetry/a/healers.htm
Ostaseski F. How to be with a Dying Person. On Our Own Terms. 2000, Educational Broadcasting Corporation/Public Affairs Television, Inc. At: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/onourownterms/articles/withperson-tools.html
Being a Supportive Friend to A Grieving Person, North Central Florida Hospice, Inc. 1996. http://www.journeyofhearts.org/jofh/kirstimd/friend.htm
Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Beyond breaking bad news: how to help patient who suffer. WJM 1999:171:260-263. At: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1305864
Broyard A. Doctor Talk to Me. New York Times. August, 26 1990.
Julio Cid. Being Hands. Used with Permission