This week I wanted to talk about death and dying. Some people have a hard time understanding my views on death and dying and I guess being a psychic medium I have a different perspective. When family members or friends tell me of someone passing my response is “good for them!” and I truly mean that. I am truly happy for the person who has transitioned to the next plane of existence. Now this does not mean I don’t grieve the loss of that person it means I know that they are and always will be part of our lives.
I find that those who fear death really don’t fear death, but rather fear the dying process and whether they will suffer. We need to trust in our process as we begin transitioning. Death can often seem scary to those who observe a loved one dying. We only see the physical body suffering or think of it as suffering as we watch them struggle, but what is happening really?
In the early stage of dying, a patient will begin eating and drinking markedly less. This period can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
What You Will See
The first sign of this stage of dying will be a noticeable drop in interest in food. For many patients, eating becomes more of a burden than a joy at this point. They may also occasionally choke on their fluids and will start to feel full rather quickly.
What Is Actually Happening
During this stage, the body starts conserving energy and does not need as much nourishment as it did in the past. Although it may be troubling to witness, it does not cause the patient any pain or suffering. This is a natural process where the body shuts down hunger, and artificial feeding at this time does not prevent death and can even lead to physical distress. To provide comfort, loved ones can offer patients bits of food, sips of fluid or ice chips, but it is important to respect the patient’s wishes when it comes to eating and drinking.
Middle Stage of Dying
The middle stage of dying is marked by changes in the patient’s physical appearance that could last a few hours or several days.
Signs You Will Notice
The person will become increasingly less responsive to their surroundings and those around them, to the point where they will eventually become unable to speak or move at all. This is typically seen during the last days of life.
What Is Occurring In Stage 2
As the body’s circulation slows down, blood is reserved for helping major internal organs function. The patient’s hands and feet might feel cold and could become darker in appearance.
During this stage, loved ones can offer blankets to increase comfort as the patient’s circulation changes. However, heating pads and electric blankets are not advised because the patient will be unable to judge if they are becoming too hot.
The detachment from their surroundings and relationships is the body’s physical and spiritual response to the process of dying and is perfectly normal. Loved ones should assume the patient can hear everything they say. Experts suggest speaking softly to the patient and touching them gently only if they normally like being touched. This is a good time for prayer or meditation. It is not recommended to ask the patient questions that require answers.
Last Stage of Dying
During the final stage of dying, disorientation and restlessness will grow. There will be significant changes in the patient’s breathing and continence.
What You Will Notice
The patient’s bowel movements may stop entirely, or they may become incontinent. Their breathing may become shallow and irregular, with long pauses that grow frequent as death approaches. There may also be sounds of chest congestion and throat rattling in the last hours.
What Their Bodies Are Doing
The restlessness noted in this stage is attributed to changes in metabolism, while the kidney and bowel functions are affected by decreasing circulation. Relaxing muscles can lead to incontinence. The slowing of blood circulation to internal organs causes the lungs to lose their power to clear out fluids as well as the relaxation of the throat muscles.
When a patient enters the final stage of dying, it is helpful to talk to them reassuringly. Again, gentle touch is acceptable if the patient likes being touched. Even when they are not responsive, the patient might be able to hear those around them, so it is important to speak respectfully. Although this can be a distressing time for loved ones, it is best to try to stay calm.
Some patients may need medication for restlessness, diapers, a catheter or underbody pads. At this point, administering oxygen will not help. However, it may be useful to elevate the head of the patient’s bed or use pillows to help lift their head; turning the patient on their side may also increase comfort.
The above may sound or seem unpleasant but it really is not causing distress in the person dying. It is harder on the loved ones saying goodbye. It is important that loved ones give them permission to go home for our loved ones will hang on if they sense that we are not ready to let them go.
I have had the great privilege of being with many people as they transition and, in the end, every one of them had a look of peace that comes over them. They may talk with or about loved ones that have come to help them crossover. They begin to accept and let go of this life and are finally able to release themselves of their physical body. It is a beautiful process to witness.
I always found it fascinating that people are even afraid to talk about death and dying, especially with their loved ones for we see it as being morbid, after all who wants to think about the end? Well, I do! I love talking about death and dying and making plans, so my loved ones know what I want. I decided years ago that I do not want a wake or funeral, but rather I want a “living wake and celebration of life.” When my time comes, I want people I love to celebrate my life with me while I am still here not wait until after I am gone. I want them to see the joy in my death not the sadness. Yes, my loved ones will grieve, but I hope they will think about my “farewell” and smile!
Are you aware that “living wakes” are an option? Do you know what other options are available for your transitioning process? Many people are not aware of their choices, and it is important to know what they are and have plans written down or even taken care of in advance for your loved ones who will be grieving and struggling to stay goodbye.
Most people hope to die peacefully at home. Home deaths can be exhausting for family members and care givers, I know I took care of my mother at her home during her dying process which lasted four years. But did you know there are programs to support you and your loved ones? Hospice provides all kinds of support for families and the dying patient. But beyond hospice is the End-of-Life Doula.
What is an End-of-Life Doula? End of Life Doulas, or EOLDs also called Death Doulas or Death Midwives, enrich the dying experience for patients, family members and friends, while strengthening the relationship between medical (the doctors, nurses, social workers) and non-medical support (the family or caretakers). They are trained professionals who provide assistance and guidance with holistic services to individuals and their families during transformative life changes.
Doula-client relationships engage the difficult and complex emotions while navigating the signs and symptoms of the dying process. An end-of-life care team is made up of multiple different professionals ranging from doctors, nurses, social workers, and End of Life Doulas to foster a culture of equity to facilitate a good death. They strive to be a support system for those who are terminally ill, elderly, or healthy and their families as they plan for their transition. A death doula's work ranges from logistical planning for the time before, during and after death; conducting rituals or comforting practices; helping the dying person reflect on their life and values; and explaining the bodily functions of dying to caregivers.
Doulas are an active part of the Death Positive movement, a social and philosophical movement that encourages people to speak openly about death, dying, and everything in between. Death Doulas seek to eliminate the silence around death-related topics, decrease anxiety surrounding death, and dismantle the foundation of inequality, racism, and social marginalization at end of life.
For those who belong to a church, did you know you can meet with your priest or pastor and plan any services your may want after you die? Same with funeral homes, you can make appointments at a funeral home and preplan what you want.
As important it is to be proactive in life, it is just as important to be proactive in your dying process and it is better to make the decisions now rather than leaving it for your loved ones during their time of grief.
Here are some local resources for you to consider when the time comes:
North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency (NCHHHA) offers home care, palliative care, and hospice services to the communities of Coös County, and northern Grafton County. Clinical teams are on call 24 hours/7 days per week.
Heart and Soul Transitions - Jocelyn Nute's experience as a registered nurse is the foundation of her work as an end-of-life doula. As a nurse, she witnessed the last days of people in all sorts of circumstances. Through this experience, she felt a growing commitment to work with dying people in a more conscious, spiritual, and open way than is often available.
If you are currently grieving a loved one who has passed or supporting a loved one who is currently transitioning, there are support systems for you. You can contact your local hospice office to ask about bereavement support groups, seek counseling, or other programs available such as the services that Cyndee Baker, Hypnotherapist, and Life Coach offers. Check out her website for more information https://www.cyndeebaker.com/?fbclid=IwAR3KAPJwMc5aIm1QYPY5Rx7u5qigk0FkaaBAHDcVZ14pGvguiRXIuxgbpXA
You are not alone, death does not have to be scary or traumatic. Seek out resources to find the one that is best for you and your loved ones. Also, having an energy healer work on your loved ones who are transitioning may also bring them comfort. I hope my e-news helps to open the door to discussions for you and your family.
Intuitive Energy Healer and Psychic Medium
Please note that the Metaphysical Discussion Group WILL STILL be held on April 20, 2022 even though it falls on the week I am taking off. I hope to see you all then.
The next discussion group will be April 20, 2022 @ 6:30 pm!