The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

ELEVENHeart Adviceon Helping the DyingIN A HOSPICE I KNOW, Emily, a woman in her latesixties, was dying of breast cancer. Her daughter would visither every day and there seemed to be a happy relationshipbetween the two. But when her daughter had left, Emilywould nearly always sit alone and cry. After a while it becameclear that the reason for this was that her daughter hadrefused completely to accept the inevitability of her death, butspent her whole time encouraging her mother to "think positively,"hoping that by this her cancer would be cured. All thathappened was that Emily had to keep her thoughts, deepfears, panic, and grief to herself, with no one to share themwith, no one to help her explore them, no one to help herunderstand her life, and no one to help her find a healingmeaning in her death.The most essential thing in life is to establish an unafraid,heartfelt communication with others, and it is never moreimportant than with a dying person, as Emily showed me.Often the dying person feels reserved and insecure, and isnot sure of your intentions when you first visit. So don't feelanything extraordinary is supposed to happen, just be naturaland relaxed, be yourself. Often dying people don't say whatthey want or mean, and the people close to them don't knowwhat to say or do. It's hard to find out what they might betrying to say, or even what they might be hiding. Sometimesnot even they know. So the first essential thing is to relax anytension in the atmosphere in whatever way comes most easilyand naturally.Once trust and confidence have been established, the atmospherebecomes relaxed and this will allow the dying personto bring up the things he or she really wants to talk about.177

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