I offer the following passages to all our carers, be they nurses, doctors, respite volunteers or loving family members who often feel powerless in what they can do for the dying patient.
Often the most difficult role of a carer or a family member is knowing when to “let go” with someone at the end of life and just “to be.” We may feel as though we have little to offer the dying patient, yet these wise words from Anatole Broyard, can help us to realize that illness may be eased by the way we respond to the dying patient.
There is a healing power in human presence in simply being.
Be yourself and relate person to person.
Be ready to listen again and again.
Be aware of feelings and non-verbal cues.
Be comfortable with silence.
Most of all–Be there.
Sharing the End of Life
Sharing the wonder and the terror of being on the edge of being is bearing a witness to a person’s final journey. Walking with a loved one or a patient on this sacred final path is a very extraordinary and intimate experience, as we learn the importance of just being.
We experience intimacy not by sharing words, but by sharing the silence.
In the end of life what matters, what makes the difference, is taking the time to slow down, to hold a hand, to give support, to just be and to share the silence.