A Modern Guide to a Good Death • Emily L'ami
Emily L’Ami, the stunning creator of Bodha melted my heart when she told me about her father’s passing. What really inspired me is that she took such a deeply trying experience and created a resource for others to have support and information to help guide them through their experience – may it be the dying, family or friends.
I took inventory and realized that I’ve never actually had anyone close to me die in my adult life; therefore, if I had to prepare for that experience tomorrow, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue where to turn. Emily’s site, A Modern Guide To A Good Death is the most thoughtful resource. From everything to emotional and physical changes of the dying, support that people don’t even know exist such as death doulas, to books, and personal care. I absolutely had to share with all of you, because even if you come from a tradition where dying is a normal process onto the next incarnation, it doesn’t make it any easier to lose the ones you love.
E • After watching my dad die a slow & painful death I thought a lot about how it could have been a better experience for him, me and our friends and family.
Death is a journey for the person who’s dying but it’s also a journey for the ones around them. The more we understand the end-of-life system, the physical and emotional changes the person is going through, and how to look after ourselves during the process, the better the experience can be for all involved.
After creating A Modern Guide to a Good Death with the help of a palliative care specialist, psychiatrist and energetic healer, here’s my top five things to know before & after someone you love passes.
The end-of-life system
When someone you love is given a terminal diagnoses a range of facilities and organizations become available to help with the physical, emotional and spiritual process of dying. Palliative care, hospice and death doulas are just some of the services you can engage to help support you all through this time.
When someone enters the final stages of the dying process, you’ll begin to see physical changes in your loved one that are totally normal and natural. For example, you may notice changes in breathing pattern, congestion, and coolness of the skin. Hearing is often the last sense to go so keep speaking to them and remember to continually introduce yourself as people can become disoriented. Make sure they’re warm and as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
Along with the physical changes taking place are the interrelated emotional and spiritual changes. As the dying person begins the final process of release they may become withdrawn, distant and have vision-like experiences. Letting your loved one know you are ok and that they can let go whenever they’re ready can bring them a lot of comfort.
When you find out someone you love is going to die, no matter how distant the horizon, you’ll begin to grieve. And when they pass you’ll grieve again. Intense emotions ranging from anger to depression as well as physical symptoms like tiredness and difficulty sleeping are all part of the grieving process. As Joan Didion said, ‘Grief turns out to be a place none of us will know until we reach it.’
Looking after yourself
Losing someone you love can be a very overwhelming experience. It’s common to feel unusually tired, grumpy, and generally out of sorts. While it can be incredibly difficult to do, staying connected to friends & family, moving your body, and doing things you love can all help. There’s also a wide range of healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki and massage, which can help release deep emotions in the physical and emotional body.
‘Watching the peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.’ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
An inspiring Ted Talk by BJ Miller.