As an End of Life Doula and Hospice Volunteer, I know of so many people who have experienced the loss of a loved one in the most dramatic and despairing of ways, sometimes only barely emerging after years. When I drill down and listen to their stories, I hear that they did not know their loved one’s last wishes and did not have a chance to say goodbye.
Without knowing their person’s preferences about dying at home or in the hospital, with or without pain meds and machines, alone or surrounding by their loved ones, they have struggled with regret. Without that sense of completion that comes with sharing their love, acknowledging that death is near and saying goodbye, they feel that they cannot move on from their person’s death and find their way.
When my mom died almost five years ago, I found that I experienced grief as profound love for her. I felt close to her, knowing she was ready to die and had not only accepted death’s inevitably, but actively embraced it at the end. I felt she gave me a huge gift by talking openly with me about her wishes and by making sure we had the time to say goodbye and express our love over and over. I even have an iphone video of her singing to me, “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”!
My friend lost her husband a year ago. He had a good, conscious death. She said to me last week that she still cries every day because she misses her beloved. But she said that amazing as it is, she also feels happy. She feels her sense of agency. She is grateful for life. She loves her life.
Death is permanent. There are no redo’s. Preparing consciously for the end of our lives frees us and liberates our loved ones, that their period of mourning can be full of light and love.
Grief does not have to be another trauma. It can be an honoring of your person and your love. You can miss them dearly and still embrace your life without them fully. Look for my new articles and offerings entitled End of Life Intentions for Dummies, Pragmatists and Seekers for more on conscious dying.