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

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

HEART ADVICE ON HELPING THE DYING 183together again. Mr. Murphy had then made out his will, andwritten final messages to his grown-up children. All of thiswas terribly sad, because it was so hard to let go, but theycarried on, as Mr. Murphy wanted to end his life well.Sister Brigid told me that for the next three weeks Mr.Murphy lived, the couple radiated peace and a simple, wonderfulfeeling of love. Even after her husband died, Mrs.Murphy continued to visit patients at the hospice, where shewas an inspiration to everyone.This story shows to me the importance of telling peopleearly that they are going to die, and also the great advantageof facing squarely the pain of loss. The Murphys knew thatthey were going to lose many things, but by facing thoselosses and grieving together, they found what they could notlose, the deep love between them that would remain after Mr.Murphy's death.FEARS ABOUT DYINGI am sure one of the things that helped Mrs. Murphy helpher husband was that she faced within herself her own fearsof dying. You cannot help the dying until you have acknowledgedhow their fear of dying disturbs you and brings up yourmost uncomfortable fears. Working with the dying is like facinga polished and fierce mirror of your own reality. You seein it the stark face of your own panic and of your terror ofpain. If you don't look at and accept that face of panic andfear in yourself, how will you be able to bear it in the personin front of you? When you come to try and help the dying,you will need to examine your every reaction, since your reactionswill be reflected in those of the person dying and willcontribute a great deal to their help or detriment.Looking at your fears honestly will also help you in yourown journey to maturity. Sometimes I think there could be nomore effective way of speeding up our growth as humanbeings than working with the dying. Caring for the dying isitself a deep contemplation and reflection on your own death.It is a way to face and work with it. When you work withthe dying, you can come to a kind of resolution, a clear understandingof what is the most important focus of life. To learnreally to help those who are dying is to begin to become fearlessand responsible about our own dying, and to find in ourselvesthe beginnings of an unbounded compassion that wemay never have suspected.

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