How we live is totally up to each and every one of us, which naturally will be influenced by many, many things. Our culture, family, history, experiences, health, the attitude and values we develop and the connections we make are just a few of the things that impact and determine who each of us are. How amazing to think, with a world population of over 7 billion people, each person has something that makes us “us” – our own unique being.
It is said that “we die how we live”. How we approach death and dying is pretty well much the same as to how we live. An experience told to me recently challenges this but in a very caring loving way. A very private person spent her last day and hours surrounded by people who loved her dearly, had travelled across the globe to see her, to be with her and to say their goodbyes. As the group filled her room they were noisy, sharing stories and recounting happy times together. There was little they could actually “do” apart from be there, talk to her and touch her. They patted her arms and hands, stroked her hair and forehead and offered gentle caresses knowing these offerings would also soon end. In hearing this story I thought how beautiful to have such care and attention from your tribe at this time. The story continued with the teller knowing that this person’s last day and hours were not really how she lived. Attention, noise and touching were not part of her living.
As the hours passed and the time presented, words of love were expressed to her unconscious friend. She acknowledged she knew she wouldn’t have liked all this attention, noise and being constantly stroked; for this, she apologised. Some hours later the person died, after the weary travellers had left along with their noise and attention, and the touching had ceased.
There were just a couple of special besties by her side to bear witness to her dying. This sounds just how she wanted it.
Living and dying well is whatever that means to each and every one of us. I can’t think that there are 7 billion ways to die well but thinking and talking about what it means to you and your family is a great place to start. As they say, an action starts with a thought, so what are yours?
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