Have you had end of life discussions with your loved ones?
Yes I have, on several occasions, and it is never easy and always necessary. Hugs and blessings coming on a wing and a prayer your way my friend.
This might strike one as strange: I love them. The discussions. I have had many. I had all three with both my parents. I mean "all three" as in -- when it is not much of a concern and just inquiry; when it is scary and doubt filled; and when it appears eminent. I also get the questions from younger family and parishioners.
I think I enjoy them because they are real, I mean really real. My comfort level with death and dying helps with a two way empathy and reassurance. It is not always the case where it can be addressed in any kind of Pollyanna fashion. People do not view death as religious doctrine like they do about matters like praying, attendance and professed faith. In the latter two phases I have never heard two thoughts the same. And so it is that these discussions should be one sided, with me doing the listening. I like that part too.
And one last thing. Who is who is very important. If it is your time to talk of it with a loved one, remember there is a reason they are talking to you instead of me.
Yes. I had. With my father who left us few months back.
He started the discussions. he was suffering from left ventricular failure, renal failure and pulmonary edema.
He said "When I had pulmonary edema last time, it was like facing death. I was struggling to get air. I did not want to die. But I have also noticed that I was not thinking about God. My only thinking was to come back to life and to get some air into my lungs."
I told him it is okay, because throughout his life he was nice, kind and helpful to many. That matters more...
Two months after this conversation, he left us after another episode of pulmonary edema.
Hundreds gathered together to attend his funeral..
If by "end of life" you mean, discussed the end of a person's life, then my answer would be no, I have not had that kind of conversation with anyone. But, if you mean, have I talked to someone at the end of their life, then that answer would be yes, I have had the opportunity to talk to a few people before they passed from this world. Each time it was a wonderful experience, like being part of a transition. I knew as I talked to the person, and I suspect they knew as well, that we were looking into each other's eyes for the last time. We hugged, kissed, smiled, and said things that mattered for the last time. Memories were made that will last forever.
Yes, I have had this discussion with many of my loved ones. What really provoked these discussions was the passing of my older brother at the young age of 41. I think it is necessary to have this discussion with all of your loved ones. The reason being is we must know what their wishes are after they pass. And it is a great comfort knowing if they are ready to pass on to eternity (In Heaven) is my greatest wish for all.
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