Helping Someone Die Peacefully

Most people think that the first five years is the most important time in a person’s life.  I would propose that the last 72 hours out rank the first five years.  We now know that the first five years can be reversed or altered due to neuroplasticity and reprogramming, however the last few hours or days of a person’s life cannot be altered.

Many people spend decades worrying about their own death.  However, given the right circumstances this transitional time can be the most peaceful and glorious time of their life.  For the caregivers and loved ones, it may not appear this way, however.  It feels like a time of ‘impending doom’ and most family members are too upset or tired to bring themselves to have the courageous conversations that need to be spoken in order to release the dying person in a peaceful state of well-being.

Imagine being able to give someone the gift of a peaceful death.

Here are some key aspects of the courageous conversations that need to take place to make a lifetime of difference to people preparing for transition.

  1. Doctors have not been trained on how to talk to dying patients. It is up to you to talk with them about their fears of death.  Don’t avoid the elephant in the room.  Ask them to share their experiences and feelings.  You may be surprised at what they are seeing and knowing.
  2. Help them see the bigger picture and the legacy of their life. Celebrate the great moments.
  3. Help them process the events of their life and put together the pieces. Help them create this piece of artwork.
  4. Many dying people have major regrets. Help them to reframe these into a positive piece of the puzzle of their life.
  5. Ask them if there is anything they want said to anyone that is not present. Help them write a note.
  6. Let them know that it is okay if they go; that everyone is well taken care of. Give them permission.  If they tend to feel guilty, help them to not feel guilty about leaving.
  7. The Five Wishes – if the person has not already taken care of logistical business, help them complete the 5 Wishes document related to how comfortable they want to be, what they want their loved ones to know, etc.

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Blog Post written by:

Dr. Nickerson's professional experience as a psychologist and personal passion for developing the mind-body-spirit connection have fueled her success and devotion to training individuals and organizations to foster whole wellness.

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