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

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

HEART ADVICE ON HELPING THE DYING 187chemistry between you and the other person will take place,and the tension in the relationship that has lasted so long willoften dissolve. Sometimes, amazingly, you can even becomethe best of friends. Never forget, as the famous Tibetan masterTsongkhapa once said, "A friend can turn into an enemy, andso an enemy can turn into a friend."SAYING GOODBYEIt is not only the tensions that you have to learn to let goof, but the dying person as well. If you are attached and clingto the dying person, you can bring him or her a lot of unnecessaryheartache and make it very hard for the person to letgo and die peacefully.Sometimes the dying person can linger on many months orweeks longer than doctors expected and experience tremendousphysical suffering. Christine Longaker has discovered thatfor such a person to be able to let go and die peacefully, he orshe needs to hear two explicit verbal assurances from lovedones. First, they must give the person permission to die, andsecond they must reassure the person they will be all rightafter he or she has gone, and that there is no need to worryabout them.When people ask me how best to give someone permissionto die, I tell them to imagine themselves standing by the bedsideof the person they love and saying with the deepest andmost sincere tenderness: "I am here with you and I love you.You are dying, and that is completely natural; it happens toeveryone. I wish you could stay here with me, but I don'twant you to suffer any more. The time we have had togetherhas been enough, and I shall always cherish it. Please nowdon't hold onto life any longer. Let go. I give you my full andheartfelt 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 anelderly Scottish woman, Maggie, whom she visited after herhusband, close to death, had already fallen into a coma.Maggie felt inconsolably sad, for she had never spoken to herhusband about her love for him, nor said goodbye, and nowshe felt it was too late. The hospice worker encouraged her,saying that although he seemed unresponsive, perhaps hecould actually still hear her. She had read that many peoplewho appear to be unconscious can in fact perceive what isgoing on. She urged her to spend some time with her husband,

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