On Death And Dying: Tips To Help You And Your Loved Ones

Peter Hoddle Dealing With Death Of Loved One

When most people think about death, it triggers sadness and heaviness descends. Our problem with death is that we don’t have enough information about it, primarily because our parents couldn’t teach us because no one had taught them. There are also varying views on death: some people believe when you're dead, that’s the end, some believe in hell and damnation, and others believe that we go on, that this life is but a small part of a greater journey.

The next time someone you love passes and you view them in death, you will notice a couple of things: first, they don’t look like they did when you knew them, and second, it is obvious that there is no one home - the body once filled with life is an empty shell.

The recent passing of my 89-year-old mother has brought the process of death once more to me. While I have experienced loved ones dying before - including my father 15 years ago - having one's second parent leave is different. As my brother so aptly put it, “there is no one ahead anymore.”

Those of you who have lost both parents will connect with what it’s like to know the people who have always been ahead of you have gone. It is a strange feeling that I can’t describe very well.

The morning of my mother's passing my brother, sister and I were all together on Skype with Mum. She was in bed asleep when I joined my siblings via computer. It was obvious that Mum was not long for this world; her breath was laboured, her colour grey and her speech incoherent. I asked her to smile if she could understand our conversation and her face lightened with the most beautiful smile (Mum was known for her smiles).

My siblings and I thanked her for being the best Mum on the planet. I spoke to her gently: “Mum, it’s time for you to go (Mum had been bed ridden and unable to function without full time assistance for some weeks, following a stroke). Your body is breaking down. This is no way for you to live.”

“When the time comes you will feel yourself being drawn up. Look up, above you will be a bright light. Hold your attention on the light, the angels will come and take you. Let yourself go and they will take care of you.”

18 hours later, my wonderful Mum passed into the worlds beyond. She went home.

I am thankful for the knowledge that I have gained through my lifelong studies of the deeper aspects of life, it helped me to assist Mum to exit smoothly, and she died very peacefully. I felt that she left without a backward glance.

When I look back onto my childhood experiences of people dying, I find memories of sadness with no discussion. The subject of death just seemed taboo. I recall one instance of a family member passing. I was about 8 or 9 years old, my parents put on the sombre black attire and went off to the funeral leaving us children behind because “funerals were no place for children.” They returned some hours later and solemnly put their black gear back into the closet. Nothing more was ever said.

Many of you will have had similar early experiences; we grow up without any reference points and when someone whom we love passes we have no map, except that everyone is sad. The sadness and grief gets buried within us and carried along into our future, only to be added to when another loved one passes.

Take the time to talk about dying, express your thoughts on the subject, and ask your loved ones for their thoughts. So many don’t - or won’t - speak about it. Throughout my therapy work, a common regret expressed by those who have lost loved ones is that they wished death had been spoken of before the passing. My uncle, who lost his wife to cancer, deeply regretted that his wife wouldn’t speak of the possibility of death, considering it a big negative. He still hasn’t dealt with it within himself, despite it being many years since her passing.

When loved ones approach death, get them to express any fears that they might have. While you won’t have answers for them, it will help them and you if they express their emotions. Let them know that you are OK with them going and that you will always be with them in a connection of love. Let them know you know that it is their time, and although you will be sad, you will be always hold them in your heart.

When they are really close dying and it is clear that they will soon pass, encourage them to look up as they pass and call on the help of the waiting angels. During a recent workshop, I experienced a death in an earlier lifetime. As I passed, I stepped onto a brilliant white path with dozens of angels lining either side of the path. They welcomed me with such unbelievable love, that it was a relief to leave the body.

Reflect on what you have learned from the one who is passing, thank them for that gift and bless them; it will lift you up and help them move more freely on their way.

Happy travels and many blessings,