That's a little stark, isn't it? Where's the soft language we're supposed to couch that information in? Euphemisms and whatnot? The new western world is far too scared of death to actually call it by name!
But here's what's wrong with that: If we can't say it, we give it all the power, leaving us without. Now, I don't know about you, but when my time comes, when I am facing death, I'll want to hold onto as much control as I can. And I won't want to feel isolated in my dying because the people around me haven't developed the language to talk to me about it.
Now, some of you might think me a hypocrite for calling myself an end-of-life rather than death coach, but please allow me to explain. End-of-life is a time of preparation. It can involve funeral decisions, living wills, last will and testaments, advanced directives, among other things. All of these can -- and should -- be taken care of well before any dramatic health changes, but, sadly, that is not always the case. Rather than burdening the family with them when it's too late, an end-of-life coach will step in. The family's presence is needed at the bedside.
Another component of end-of-life is the dying process itself. At that point the coach will help bring peace to the individual and family by facilitating communication and engaging in ceremony or ritual tailored to the family's own background. I can also offer support in the form of gentle massage, a soothing touch for the dying person, strokes which I can also teach the family. I will also be on hand to give caregivers a well-deserved break.
Right, so that's end-of-life. Death, on the other hand, is -- to my mind -- the transition of an individual's spirit out of their body. Part of the end-of-life process to be sure, but not all of it. And not necessarily the last either. With a natural death there is no law requiring the body to be whisked immediately away. Some families will choose to sit vigil until everyone has found their peace. You may choose a home funeral. Your end-of-life coach will be right there.
Don't waste those last precious moments with your loved one.