Q: (Echo Blue) Well, I know hearing is that last thing to go when they're dying. Well, my next question would be: What's the best way to talk them through it?
A: Laura did it.
Q: (L) Did I ever tell you what I did when my mother was dying? I got on the phone. I got on the phone with her every few days.
(Echo Blue) Oh, the singing!
(L) Well, I made recordings of songs, the children made recordings of favorite poems that she liked. And I also got on the phone and my brother would hold the phone to her ear, and I talked her through it. And I told her what to expect. I came right out and said things like, "Dying is not the end, it's just moving into another state of existence. You don't lose yourself, you don't lose your consciousness, you don't lose your ability to perceive to love or to feel. You can let go, you can just release the body." And I told her that letting go of the body is like taking off a shoe that's too tight. You'll feel very free, and all of the pains and aches and constrictions of the body will be gone, and so on... For me, it was very heartfelt, and I cried while I was doing it. But I had to talk my mother through it, because she was terrified of dying. And I felt like I was a parent in a sense, comforting a child who was going to have a new experience. So, I think that's the most important thing.
Tell them what to expect: "When you get through there, you're going to see a light, and if you look at the light, you're going to see people you love." And ya know, I named people that had already gone over that she was attached to, and I told her she was going to see those people and they'd be there for her. "So, just go in that direction and hold out your hand, and they'll take you by the hand, you'll be reunited with them..." and so on and so forth. Well, you remember our group member DW who died? I did the same thing for her. She was just suffering so horribly and hanging on, and hanging on. Finally, I called her, and I talked to her and I explained to her what was probably going to be going on. And I said that she didn't have to fight any more. She was fighting so hard because she felt like it was a failing of doing the Work to die! And I had to explain to her that no, it's not a failing, and that maybe she can do more for us on the other side than she could do here. With all the problems with her body that she'd had for so long...
You have to talk from the heart. It's not like you can get a formula where you just read something, and say "here's what you do, that's what you do". You just really help the person, and you love them. One thing I did tell my mother, "the minute you leave your body, you come to me. Yes, I'm on the other side of the ocean, but those kinds of things are not a barrier when you're on the other side. All you have to do is think about me, and you'll be here". And damned if she didn't do it! I was in my bedroom, and I could feel her. I said, "Mom, I'm really tired, so here, you lay down on the sofa." I put a pillow and blanket on the sofa for her to sleep, and I told her in the morning we'll talk about this.
So, the next day we had a session and I communicated with my mother, and basically had a lot of closure type things going on. And it's one of those sessions where I'm crying through the session because it's very emotional. You have to do this. You have to overcome your own... You can't baby yourself. It's like a parent who has to take care of a child even if the parent feels bad. You still have to do it. It's one of those things that even if you are so emotional that you feel like you can't hold yourself together, you still have to do it for that dying person.
So, if you're there with someone who is dying, I don't see any reason why you can't talk them. If they're completely unconscious, they're still gonna hear you. You're still talking to that part of them that's trying to depart this life. So, I don't see any reason not to just talk to them in a low, comforting, soothing, and very supportive way. Let them know that there's nothing to be afraid of. It's not a terrible thing. "You're going to be okay. I'm here with you, I'll get you through this." You can say that because you do.
By the same token, when any one of our people here has to go up for any kind of surgery, we go and hang out at the hospital and we keep them embraced mentally as a form of protection. When somebody's unconscious with drugs or whatever and they're in a weakened state, you don't want any attachments or weird stuff going on. So that's another thing we do. Having teams of people just present and watching during surgery or when people are dying is probably a tremendous service, I think.
(Falling Water) On the same subject, but more on a personal note, I just was wondering if we made the right decision at the last few days of my dad's life?
Q: (Falling Water) Thank you.
(L) What was the decision?
(Falling Water) He had Parkinson’s. And he kind of gave us the heads up that if anything happened, he didn't want any life support or whatever. And on Father's Day, he had a stroke where he became completely bedridden. So we brought him home and basically stayed with him. There was no food or water. He had a strong heart, and because of that he lasted 12 days. They told us it would be 2 to 10 days.
(L) That's very similar to what happened with my mother. When she stopped feeding, and she refused any pain medication right up to the last minute. And finally, I just overrode her wishes because she was suffering. And in 2 days, she was gone. I figured she needed it at that point.
(Falling Water) Yeah, we were giving him morphine every few hours through that whole time.
A: It was a beautiful passage.