Skip to comments.What People Talk About Before They Die
Posted on 11/28/2017 12:14:45 AM PST by beaversmom
As a divinity school student, I had just started working as a student chaplain at a cancer hospital when my professor asked me about my work.
"I talk to the patients," I told him. "You talk to patients? And tell me, what do people who are sick and dying talk to the student chaplain about?" he asked.
They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.
They talk about how they learned what love is, and what it is not. And sometimes, when they are actively dying, fluid gurgling in their throats, they reach their hands out to things I cannot see and they call out to their parents: Mama, Daddy, Mother.
I have seen such expressions of love: A husband gently washing his wife's face with a cool washcloth, cupping the back of her bald head in his hand to get to the nape of her neck, because she is too weak to lift it from the pillow. A daughter spooning pudding into the mouth of her mother, a woman who has not recognized her for years.
They tell me what it feels like to know that you abandoned your children, or that your drinking destroyed your family, or that you failed to care for those who needed you.
Even in these cases, I am amazed at the strength of the human soul.
When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
“...And in The End,
The love you take
is equal to the love
RIP, dear dad. No hard feelings in my heart at all. I hope there is something truly wonderful that your are experiencing right now.
On my deathbed I will be grateful to...........the one short love of my life, and two of my three children.
I will regret that I was not what my oldest child needed and could not figure out how to help him.
I have not knowingly been mean or cruel to anyone, stolen from anyone or harmed anyone.
I will never understand the lack of love in my life. I offered but didn’t receive.
I will never understand why I was taught that God was good, but allowed so much suffering.
I read where the daughter of David Cassidy said that his last words were “So much wasted time.” It sounded like he was estranged from his wife and daughter for many years.
My old man - while probably not his last words, but the most memorable within the few hours before he died was “I’ve always said - the best day of my life will be the day I die, and get my crown of glory in Heaven!”
I replied “Well - it sure is going to suck for the rest of us!”
Empathy and understanding to you. I hope you find meaning and purpose to it all before you pass. It’s the lot of us humans, isn’t it?
Great humour in such a sad moment.
Coincidence again for me, my mom brought up David Cassidy tonight, too.
Test, test. This is a test.
His daughter is very pretty:
Katie Cassidy Shares Father David’s Last Words: ‘So Much Wasted Time’
You are most fortunate and blessed to be able to say that.
Due to a massive stroke, my mother was incapable of speaking just prior to her death. I deeply regretted not staying with her as she passed although my younger brother and an older sister did.
When my mother in law was dying from a brain tumor, I did stay, along with my husband, his two sisters, their spouses, my oldest daughter and her husband, and one of my mother in law’s sisters and a niece. We were at her home, around her bedside for hours that night and we sang and talked about memories, happy and sad. She had passed the ability to speak but we knew she could hear us.
As her breathing got more labored and took longer between breaths, we knew her time was close so we began to tell her we loved her and asked her to say hello to various loved ones. Then tears began to roll out from under her closed eyes, which made all of us cry too. Maybe it was an involuntary reaction for her. Maybe she was sad to leave us. I don’t know. But within minutes, she took her last breath. A more gentle, peaceful passing I can’t imagine. I hope my death will be as gentle as hers.
A very short time before my father passed away, he told me over the phone, “Son, don’t worry. I’m not afraid to die.”
I was physically very far away from my father, when it happened. A close relative (who also passed away since) who was with him told me what happened, though.
He had seizures and went into a coma. His hair was said to have suddenly turned completely white then. After...I don’t remember...days, he awoke and told of what he had seen.
He said that he had been in an absolutely dark place, except that there were only mirrors all around him. No matter how far he looked, there were only mirrors. After he awoke, he told the relative that she had no face. He could see everything else, but there were no faces on her, the nurses or anyone. He reportedly appeared to be lucid, calm and unafraid.
The relative said that everything about him and the whole process gave her the creeps, and that she was afraid. Her reaction didn’t surprise me.
It didn’t bother me at all, though, and I understood.
To quote Chaucer, “Better Late than Never.”
I’ve often discussed the parable of the vineyard workers with people as they are dying. I’ve seen so many death bed transformations when people finally get the priorities of life in proper order.
Thank you for posting. Assisting in this process is very valuable for your own soul too.
I’ve had people cry, afraid that they were going to hell, and then the Divine Light hits them and you know they are full of Love and at total peace. It is a joy beyond words just participating in these events.
“If I’d have only earned $50,000 more....”
Well - that would depend, wouldn't it? $50,000 total, or $50,000 annually?
And the corollary “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”
My wife's grandfather was a preacher and wrote a little booklet called “A Life of No Regrets”. I never read it - the title seemed outlandish - although I suppose in the end he might have come up with the thought that being saved by Jesus Christ covers those regrets.
I was just telling my 20-year old daughter over dinner that mom and I did the best we could - and I reminded her of even years ago when they were young teens - mom and dad are going to mess up too. We might think we are doing the right thing, but we aren't. Just like you kids will mess up. But that is life. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and sadly that is often how we learn.
But a life of no regrets - Hardly. However, I do not dwell on them. One friend of mine, the conversation invariably turns to his lamentations of leaving his home state, changing a job, selling Microsoft shares in 1994, etc. (Okay - I do see how selling those shares could nag at one!)
With Mom, we were each taking night time care for her. Sleep was at odd hours. I was with her when she fell asleep about midnight, never to wake again. The next afternoon about 6 pm, I was holding her hand as she passed. There was nothing scarey about it. Peaceful, and seemed like the right way things should have been that day.
Beautiful story about your MIL. Thank you for sharing.
When my mom, oldest son, and I visited my dad Sunday night at the nursing home, we were all in the small dining room. I fed him some pumpkin pie. He kept looking out the window. It was dark outside, of course, with only a few city lights shining. He was very intent on whatever it was he was seeing. He had a little bit of a smile on his face and seemed content and peaceful. We asked him what he was seeing and he said "stars". I think deep down, somehow, I knew it was the last time I would see him, but I told myself I would have at least a few more visits. They said tonight he ate breakfast and lunch on Monday. They tried to give him some ice water in the afternoon, but he didn't want to be bothered. When they went to check on him about 10 minutes later he was gone. Sometime after 3, but before 4 p.m. I'm so thankful that I made the effort to see him Sunday, and quite a few times in the last couple of weeks, but I wish we had stayed longer Sunday night. And I wish I would have seen him Monday, too.
Very interesting about your dad’s experience while in a coma, and what he saw after coming out.
CNN never fails to stick the knife into Christianity.
“What I did not understand when I was a student then, and what I would explain to that professor now, is that people talk to the chaplain about their families because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence. We don’t live our lives in our heads, in theology and theories. We live our lives in our families.”
Family is good place to learn love, yes, but the hospice “chaplain” author (via CNN) doesn’t seem to worry that their faith stops there, only with what the eyes can see.
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