chemistry between you and the other person will take place,

and the tension in the relationship that has lasted so long will

often dissolve. Sometimes, amazingly, you can even become

the best of friends. Never forget, as the famous Tibetan master

Tsongkhapa once said, "A friend can turn into an enemy, and

so an enemy can turn into a friend."


It is not only the tensions that you have to learn to let go

of, but the dying person as well. If you are attached and cling

to the dying person, you can bring him or her a lot of unnecessary

heartache and make it very hard for the person to let

go and die peacefully.

Sometimes the dying person can linger on many months or

weeks longer than doctors expected and experience tremendous

physical suffering. Christine Longaker has discovered that

for such a person to be able to let go and die peacefully, he or

she needs to hear two explicit verbal assurances from loved

ones. First, they must give the person permission to die, and

second they must reassure the person they will be all right

after he or she has gone, and that there is no need to worry

about them.

When people ask me how best to give someone permission

to die, I tell them to imagine themselves standing by the bedside

of the person they love and saying with the deepest and

most sincere tenderness: "I am here with you and I love you.

You are dying, and that is completely natural; it happens to

everyone. I wish you could stay here with me, but I don't

want you to suffer any more. The time we have had together

has been enough, and I shall always cherish it. Please now

don't hold onto life any longer. Let go. I give you my full and

heartfelt permission to die. You are not alone, now or ever.

You have all my love."

A student of mine who works in a hospice told me of an

elderly Scottish woman, Maggie, whom she visited after her

husband, close to death, had already fallen into a coma.

Maggie felt inconsolably sad, for she had never spoken to her

husband about her love for him, nor said goodbye, and now

she felt it was too late. The hospice worker encouraged her,

saying that although he seemed unresponsive, perhaps he

could actually still hear her. She had read that many people

who appear to be unconscious can in fact perceive what is

going on. She urged her to spend some time with her husband,

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