One of my youngest hospice patients died a week ago. He was only 28 years old. He died of melanoma (skin cancer). Since the day he was born, he was on the family farm. He spent many days outside taking care of the animals. He found out he had melanoma in his mid-twenties. Around 10,000 people die of skin cancer each year.
My patient loved animals and even fulfilled his dream of working at Sea World. He was a beautiful man with electric blue eyes and a light brown goatee. He reminded me of Jesus.
I am a hospice massage therapist for a local hospital. My patient, who I will call Josh, requested massage therapy. He had a lot of pain around his shoulders and neck. I found out later that the cancerous mole that started his illness was at the back of his neck.
Josh deteriorated fast. I saw him for three sessions. By my last session, I knew he was close to dying. I decided to do Reiki (energy balancing) instead of massage therapy. When I placed my hand a few inches above his head, I received a vision.
Visions are hard to describe because it was more than something I saw, it was also a feeling. The feeling was of pure peace and reassurance. I knew Josh was in good hands. The vision was a nature scene. I saw a fantastic blue sky. Everything was more bright and alive. The light that I saw was maybe angels or God. I’m not sure. The vision came to me in a flash. It did not stay long.
I’ve been working with hospice patients for almost three years. Sometimes I wonder if there is a mystery to death. Maybe it’s not as complicated or mysterious as we make it. Perhaps our daily reality continues through reincarnation. Or is it mysterious like our night dreams? Death could ignite mysterious travels or place us in a surreal heaven. Personally, I believe in reincarnation. I believe we live many lives. If we have reality now, we will have reality after we die.
There are ways to comfort our loved ones who are dying. These suggestions are from the pamphlet, “When Time is Short: The Dying Process,” by G. Leigh Wilkerson, RN:
Months to Weeks
- Listen. Express support.
- No pressure to eat more than is wanted.
- Help tie up loose ends if desired.
- Express your feelings to hospice staff.
- Call the hospice nurse if your loved one is uncomfortable.
Weeks to Days
- Provide a calm presence.
- Ask for the help you need.
- Avoid waking your loved one.
- Provide comfort, reassurance.
- Ask the hospice staff any questions you may have.
Days to Hours
- Provide a quiet, peaceful space.
- Avoid waking your loved one.
- Read quietly at bedside.
- Have family and friends with you.
- Remember your loved one can hear you.
- Say loving words and provide gentle touch.
- Call the hospice nurse if you have any concerns.
I think the most important thing you can do for your loved one is to tell your loved one that you love him or her. Even the word “love” has a high vibration. It is important to remember that words have vibration.
Dying is a natural process. We must trust that process. Dying is part of the soul’s journey. When you are dying, you are like a caterpillar in its chrysalis. You shelter yourself from the outside, and you go inside to prepare for transformation. Then when the time is right, you emerge as a new being.
God bless you.