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HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVED ONE
WHO IS DYING
Question: "Help me find comfort while someone I love very much is battling an aggressive terminal illness. It is important for me to try my best to stay balanced but I am finding it increasingly difficult. Do you have any advice for me?"
It is difficult to know how to deal with a loved one who is dying - this is one of the most challenging and painful things we can face as humans. It is hard to see someone you love suffering and slipping away, and it is also hard to deal with your own feelings of fear, grief, loss, as well as feelings such as frustration, helplessness, anger, rage, bitterness and resentment. Dealing with death brings up a myriad of emotions that come in waves, which can be exhausting, especially if the illness is long and drawn out.
There are some positive aspects of dealing with a loved one who is dying. The dying process is one in which much wisdom and healing can come to light for all concerned. As a person approaches death, they become lighter and lighter, preparing to cross the bridge of light to enter a higher dimension. This is why they often stop eating, because food is an anchor into the physical realm. They begin to spend more time sleeping or daydreaming, which allows them to travel to the Other Side and back, until they are ready to make their final journey. This process tends to give them greater insight and awareness, and many people often speak profound words of wisdom before dying.
When a person is aware that they are dying, it gives them an opportunity to reflect on everything in their life, allowing them to make peace with themselves and with others, to have forgiveness for self and others, and to have completion. It allows for a life review while they are still living, which often gives them the opportunity to make amends where necessary, clearing karmic bonds and fulfilling sacred contracts.
Those who are dealing with a loved one who is dying also go through similar things. You gain an appreciation for all that person has contributed to your life, and you become aware of any grievances or unfinished business between you. This provides an opportunity to heal, to forgive, to let go and set both of you free (which may also involve and impact other loved ones as well). The prospect of absence makes the heart grow fonder, so you may find that you love them more deeply in order to let them go. Although this may seem to be a paradox, the deepening of love secures a place in your heart where they will reside forever, ensuring that they will always be with you.
So much energy of caring, nurturing, dreading, fearing, loving, etc. goes into dealing with a loved one who is dying, that it can suck the life-force out of you. If you start grieving their loss before they die, then you are missing out on precious time that you still have with them presently in your life. You must cross the bridge of their death only when they finally do, and in the meantime, it is important to share and experience as much of life as possible.
Death is ultimately not a difficult transition to make for the one who is dying, unless they resist it. It is a graduation to a higher realm of being, a higher vibration of pure love and light that is tough for us to perceive from the density of our physical world and with the limitation of our physical senses. When our loved ones pass to the Other Side, they are mostly at peace and in bliss, and are usually only troubled by the pain and suffering of those they leave behind. Dying is ultimately not painful, but grieving is.
Our loved ones remain with us once they pass, but they cannot get close to us when negative emotions such as anger, sorrow, grief and bitterness are strong, because these emotions only push them away. Once these emotions heal and settle into peace and love, our loved ones can come very close to us, loving and guiding us on our life path. We never really lose a loved one, we just may lose sight of them for a time, until we see them in our dreams, or until death reunites us on a higher plane.
The key thing to remember when a loved one is dying is to enjoy their presence as much as possible while they are alive. Try not to start grieving prematurely, but spend as much quality time together as you can. Time is precious, and quality is far more important than quantity. Take the time to really talk about things that are meaningful, say everything that needs to be said. Hold hands, hug and really be with them in the moment, even if they cannot communicate. Create memories that will last a lifetime, and consciously hold them in your heart and in your mind with gratitude.
It is important for everyone who is dealing with a terminal illness to bring as much joy as possible to the experience. If you can, watch funny movies together - humor raises the spirits and the vibration, which promotes healing and wellbeing for all concerned. Read with them, share with them, laugh with them.
When a loved one is dying, it is vitally important that you don't stop living. You must assess your life and see what is really important and meaningful to you, then arrange your priorities accordingly. Don't give up the things that are really important to you, because those things keep you healthy and keep your life in balance. By the same token, don't get caught up in all the "shoulds" and chores so that you miss out on precious time with the one you love.
Often, when you don't know how to deal with a loved one who is dying, there is a tendency to either go into avoidance and denial, hiding behind the demands of everyday life, or to sacrifice everything in your life to give every bit of energy to the person who is dying. There is a place of balance between the two extremes: you can honor your life and maintain your wellbeing while also giving love and attention to your loved one.
Living and dying is not about winning or losing a battle. Dying is not a failure, it is a graduation to the next level of existence. Death is part of life, and there is nothing you can say or do that can prevent it - no amount of your energy can save another's life, but it can save your own.
It is okay to let go of someone you love. When a loved one is dying, you let go of them a bit at a time, but you never let go of them completely. It is important for you to not let their death stop you from living your life - your loved one would want for you to be happy, so give yourself permission to live well, and support them to die well.
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