Thursday, April 23, 2009

Near Death Experience

Speaking of death (see yesterday's post about When Miraculous Healing Isn't Enough), I felt drawn to read an article included in an email I recently received. It turned out to be a first hand account of a really remarkable near death experience and all the things the author, Mellen-Thomas Benedict, learned from it. I think people need to read uplifting accounts like this. It would change how we hold death in this country.

When I worked for Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center all the people we supported wanted their patients -- their parents, spouses, family members and friends -- to be cured and to live, almost at whatever cost. People took extraordinary measures to keep their loved ones alive, and some of the caregivers died in the process! We were dealing with family members taking care of mostly elderly people with Azheimer's Disease, Parkinsons Disease, stroke or some other dementing illness. EVERY ONE of those people eventually died! Everyone dies! But they and/or their families fought it with everything they had.

We had compassion. We supported them in whatever decision the families wanted to make. But there's a secret those of us doing this work never told anyone. We always closed the caregiver's file after a specific period passed after a patient's death. And every time we closed a file, we celebrated.

It meant, finally, that the ordeal for that family could be over. It was over for the patient at least. They had moved to another plane of existence. And we truly believed that would be a much better place.

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