I was listening to my big role model Cheryl Richardson on Hay House Radio the other night, and in that show she mentioned a lady who worked with dying people. Her name is Lani Leary and she has written a book called “No one has to die alone”. I went in, curious about what to find, and on her start page was a TEDx Talk. I pressed play, wondering if I could digest a topic like that on a Tuesday morning. But what she taught in that 15 minute long speech is worth more than any gold or money in the world! She listed three things that a dying person really wants to be able to receive on his/her deathbed:
- They need you to listen to them openly, even if you have heard the same story a million times. Openly and without any judgment.
- They need you to touch them. Communication through touch is often a lot more powerful than words.
- They need you to give them permission to let go and move on. Say that you will be OK and that they are allowed to finally let go.
When I heard those sentences tears started streaming down my face. How intuitively I had been acting around the dying in my own life, and how grateful I am that I have been able to dare to be close to a dying loved one.
When my father was dying, I cuddled up beside him in his hospital bed. Tthe whole family was gathered in the room telling old stories and anecdotes, laughing and crying at the same time. I was just lying there beside him, listening to his breathing getting more and more shallow and finally announcing to the rest of them that something had changed and he was about to go. We all sat at the bedside telling him how much we loved him and that we would all be OK, that he could finally let go of his sick, cancer riddled body, and then he took his last breath. This is also exactly how I acted when it was time for our 8 month old Ingrid to leave the Earth plane, which gives me enormous peace today.
I had no idea how to “do dying right” or “grieve right” at that time, but looking back I did just what these three things Lani listed in her TEDx Talk. And this is a gift that I will certainly pass on to my own two kids. Death is not something scary that needs to be hidden away from small ears, and what we teach them they are going to provide for us when it’s our time to go. Be listened to, be touched and be given the permission to let go <3
Think about that for a second.