1. Death is not about dying. It’s about living
Death teaches us many things: about the meaning of human existence; the importance of being present; and to take the time to care. And to get the most out of life and relationships through kindness, understanding, and compassion. I realized here, with my initial interaction with a patient, that dying is a time to reaffirm and restate life.
2. Death is a process involving body and soul
Death is a time when the soul leaves the body. In reality, no one is going anywhere, we’re just shifting from one home to another, passing in and out of exits and entries in a continuous process. This process often takes much longer than anyone expects. Please don’t have any expectations since your loved ones need time to do their work. Allow your loved ones the space and provide them with your love and support, something each of us can provide to ensure a “good death.” When both the body and the soul are in alignment and have completed their work, it is time.
3. Families of hospice patients need support too
Providing emotional support for family members and loved ones can be meaningful, especially if they lack the reserves to take the next steps themselves. Don’t worry about getting it right. There are no perfect words or deeds but in this case, every effort counts. Your support can make things a little more bearable for someone who’s suffering at a complex time.
4. We retain our senses at end of life
While the decision to pass may seem arbitrary, many patients hang on until someone arrives, or if they want privacy, they pass right before or after loved ones are scheduled to arrive or shortly after they leave. Patients seem to sense this timing and make decisions around it, suggesting there is much more to the mindbody connection than we know. Even though the patients may be in an altered state, their senses appear to be intact.
5. It’s impossible to predict when death will occur
There are signs of impending death that can indicate that it is near. But even then, it’s an individual process and these signs aren’t always present in every case. Patients can waver between life and death for days or hours. Those who are present may feel as if they are in a state of suspended animation, or feel disconnected or aimless.
About Debra Diamond
Debra Diamond, Ph.D. is a psychic/medium, author and death doula. A former Wall Street money manager, CNBC commentator and Johns Hopkins University professor, life took a turn in 2008 when a transformational experience left Debra with unconventional powers as a clairvoyant. She has a Ph.D. in Metaphysics from the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary. Debra lives in Baltimore, Maryland. You can find out more about Debra on her website.