You are a health professional or doctor wanting to help your patients, clients and their families have conversations and make decisions about end of life, death, and dying. But you haven’t really had alot of training in this.
Courageous Honesty is what you need first.
According to Zenith Virago , well known and experienced Deathwalker from the Natural Death Care Centre. ‘Courageous honesty, coming from the word ‘cour’, the heart, is what we all need to grow.’
This type of presence, of ‘ being there’ for your patients means you are unattached to any outcome and allows you to drop any pretense of understanding what is going on, or why.
Some call it presence, mindfulness, ‘being in the moment’. It brings you closer to your patient, into a space that exists for you and the dying person to be together, as two human beings, rather than a professional who knows, and a patient who doesn’t.
When you are honest and in the moment, you listen more humanely, ask better questions, and align more closely with their needs. This allows you to feel what is going on for them, as if you are inside their skin.
The answer then to ‘what is best for this person?’ comes from your compassion, not from your medical training or years of nursing experience.
Means staying neutral, without judgement. With honesty and compassion there is acceptance of the person who is dying, of how they got here, of their choices and actions, of their family, of medical and non-medical treatments previously offered.
Acceptance that they might die as they lived- in pain, in bitterness, with regrets and there may be nothing you need to do about that.
Acceptance of yourself- of your own abilities, limitations, mistakes and talents. And acceptance that you may have no role left to play in this person’s life and that others matter more to them right now.
With honesty and compassion and acceptance therefore comes loss.Loss of the need to ‘fix’ or to understand.
- Loss of the need to ‘be right’
- Loss of reliance on myths such as ‘You must stay positive’ and ‘There is always hope’
- Loss of the need for ‘shoulds’ as in ‘I should know what to do/ be /say’
- Loss of the need to provide answers to questions such as ‘What could I have done differently doctor?’ ‘Why didn’t they find this earlier?’ ‘Why is this happening to me?’
- Loss of the fear of saying ‘I don’t know’
Watch this beautiful moving short film and you will change the way you care for all your patients for the rest of your career.
Download or order a copy for yourself or your clinic here