How do you define a “good death”? I had the opportunity to be on a Care & Comfort Measures panel at the Beautiful Dying Expo last Saturday in San Diego. The panel was moderated by Dr. Karen Wyatt who has the weekly podcasts at the End of Life University.
The question that was asked of each of us on the panel was, “How do you define a ‘good death’ and how do you help people achieve that in your work?”
I am asked this frequently and I thought that this would be a perfect question to address in this week’s Ask Roger.
To me, a good death is when someone dies with their hope intact, they still have purpose in their life and even in their last breath – they know that they are OK.
Much of that notion came from my Grandmother who lived to be 98. When she was 96 or 97-years-old she and I were having one of our philosophical conversations about life. My Grandmother was a stoic German, Iowa farmer’s wife. Mother of 7 kids and a barn full of grandchildren & great grandchildren.
Somehow, we got to talking about purpose. I asked her, “What is your purpose?” She looked at me without skipping a beat and said, “To pray for you and to water my Christmas Cactus. (The you was all inclusive of her family but there was an emphasis on the “you” as she looked at me.)
My Grandmother had a purpose – it was to pray for her family. She had hope. She looked forward to another Christmas of her many red blooms from all of her Christmas Cactus.
I don’t recall Grandma ever using the phrase, “I’m OK” – but even though she lived alone in an old Iowa farm house and her knees hurt and her whole body ached, she always had a peace about her. She did not complain. She was perhaps the most mindful person that I have ever met. She was “OK.”
Live life to the fullest
Over the years, I have been blessed to work with people who are at the end of their life. Like my Grandma, they each taught me about how to live.
Every client comes to me with their own goals for hypnosis in mind. I do my best to meet them where they are at and honor that goal. Some, do not want to even talk about the prognosis that they only have a short time left to live. For those folks, we talk about living life to the fullest with joy, purpose and hope.
In all my sessions, I try to create a safe space to talk about whatever the person wants to talk about. I help people to normalize and accept the emotions that they are experiencing – even the “negative emotions”. After all, it is their emotion and it is a real emotion. By acknowledging and accepting the emotion, people then have the opportunity to move through it and on to something more supportive.
When people choose to, we talk about spirituality – however they define it. Sometimes, we learn how to set healthy boundaries with family and friends. After all, the freezer can only hold so many hot dishes.
People often want to talk about finding meaning in their life, meaning for the disease that they have and sometimes even meaning in their impending death.
Forgiveness of self and others is a frequent topic that people wish to discuss so that they can bring closure to old stories that no longer serve them.
Woven throughout our sessions is hope. Hope that the Christmas Cactus will bloom for the holidays, hope that grandchildren will grow up healthy, happy and be good people and hope for what comes next after death.
My hope is that each of us live every moment that we have left to the fullest and that no matter what is going on, that we remember that in this moment, “I am OK.”
You are OK
If I can be of support to you in helping you to live every moment that you have left to the fullest with purpose, hope and joy so that you know that no matter what, you are OK, please give me a call at (760) 219-8079 or send me an email to Roger@HypnosisHealthInfo.com. It makes no difference whether you know that your death is imminent or if you have many, many more years ahead of you, I’d love to talk with you.
We can meet at my Palm Desert Hypnosis office or online worldwide.
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
It feels good to be still and know that I am OK.
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