The following are some brief excerpts from “Please Dance at My Funeral”
Fear, Grief and Courage
Many who have witnessed the dying process agree that one dying without a sense of purpose or completion for one’s life is often cited as a foundation for the greatest suffering. When our focus remains negatively on what life has dealt us, we cease to grow beyond the experience. When we are unable to find gratitude for the blessings that were evident, we loose our self to that person trapped in suffering. If our definition of our life is shrouded with the pain we have experienced, we may well reach the finish line clutching dread of only more pain. If we spend so much time and effort looking to the past, how can we move forward with brighter eyes toward any positive anticipation? When we have set our course, identifying and remaining aware of our purpose throughout our life, we have a stronger sense of courage. When we have clarity about what we believe, and have loved and honored our self and our life, we are more willing to accept that sense of completion, and do so with pride versus regret.
Taking Care of Business
One of the fears most frequently expressed by people when speaking about aging, or becoming disabled, is that of burdening their family. Yet, consider the possible burden on the family when no preferences have been expressed. When end-of-life decisions are not made, surviving family members may live the rest of their lives with guilt or grief for not knowing if they made the right choices in the absence of directions by the deceased loved one.
Your Planning Is A Gift
There is nothing worse than conflicting family opinions about what a loved one would want when the person is incapacitated, and the family is under duress at this sensitive time. In spite of all the medical technology capable of extending a life, physicians are not fortune tellers. They can’t accurately predict a life expectancy. It is their responsibility to treat the patient unless directions indicate otherwise. When a patient is occasionally lucid they may be asked what course of care they want, but in that state, and during that time, they may not know what it is they want. Additionally, it is often found that your immediate family may not know what your wishes are either. Communication and preparation are your best allies.
Stretch Your Imagination
Our images of dying were born to us out of fear, and usually of witnessing the passing of friends and loved ones. Were it not for those images, what images might we conjure up on our own? From our imagination and desire for what we wish the after life to be, what can we hold in our minds instead of that which we have visualized all our lives? Can we paint in our mind an image that is serene, peaceful, and filled with love and awe? Can we entertain ideas out of the ordinary for what our future “over there” might consist of? Can we be so bold as to imagine that we might take up this new journey without pain in our transition? We know medication is available to us at life’s end to ease vacating the physical body. Can the preparation we begin today, subscribing to greater awareness, forgiving, and making amends, allow us to come to our end without suffering? Is it possible, as our awareness expands, we might manifest that which we have painted in our minds for a fearless, pain-free, journey home?
Should I Choose To Forgive
by Judith Haynes ©2009
Old memories crop up in my mind
(like unwelcome sales people at my door)
begging my attention to issues hidden in old albums
and chests in the attic of my brain
Darkness, cobwebs and time protect and distance me
from painful recollection
Layers of armor surround my heart
from days, or years of amassing justification for my pain
A closer glance provokes a wrenching at my heart
like skin tearing against barbed wire
in attempt to escape the embrace of the memory
Yet my overburdened heart
holds a key for every recall I want to banish,
every face I want to forget, every image that taunts me
Every key unlocks a layer of armor should I choose to…
should I choose to forgive.