This month, October, marks 14 years as an ‘official’ end of life care provider. In truth, we are all end of life care providers but we don’t know it. Each of these bodies is dying every moment, every day. All the forms are dying and being reborn- over and over it goes. As my current ‘end of life’ client-friend Jack, aged 92, likes to remind me (besides: ‘There is no such thing as time’ -which is true and though I prefer Jack’s presence and storytelling, this great article covers this topic well):
“I know where I’m going. I’ll see you when you get there.” Then we laugh together, realizing that ‘there’ is – in reality- HERE and NOW.
Death is a great paradox because, in truth, no one dies.
‘That does not mean we don’t care or show compassion during this very short sojourn on planet earth. I have experienced much while caring for those in their last days of human-form existence . When someone is dying we don’t need to know what they are dying from in order to show that we care. We don’t need to box the illness or disease process. It does not really matter what the signs and symptoms are, or whether the details of the deterioration process has a label like cancer, kidney failure, or heart disease.
This holds true for someone with a chronic illness, which may or may not be immediately ‘life-threatening’. Labels are tied to our beliefs. If someone is sick with cancer—-our belief often sounds like this:
‘There is a really good chance they are dying’ or we play the other side and state: ‘They can beat this thing’—so instantly we project importance to their condition-usually based on our own fear of death. At times, hearing of someone’s dis-ease can spur compassion and genuine caring but more often our pity, judgement. and condemnation.
On the other hand, if someone has been diagnosed with lyme disease or an auto-immune disease, generally misunderstood conditions with a difficult to distinguish diagnosis, we tend to think:
“Well at least they don’t have cancer.” As if their condition is not real, life-altering or somehow has less impact on one’s life. For instance, if it has been discovered that one has heavy metal poisoning, a rotting root canal, or parasites –the actual root physical causative agents behind so many ‘false labels’, most Americans do not believe these toxins are actually causing debilitation. It is a great irony. Instead, more often, we accept the indoctrinated label–Alzheimer’s disease or Crohn’s disease-labels which signify the particular body part involved, like the brain or intestines. The root toxin in both of these conditions, Crohn’s and Alzheimers are usually never identified or treated properly.
Often when someone is manifesting signs and symptoms of a chronic illness and no diagnostic label has been given, even though they are deeply debilitated, things can get really murky.
We are also likely to say, mostly to ourselves:
“Well, they are just emotionally weak. If I had what they had, I would do such and such and be perfectly healthy in a matter of days.” I use to have those thoughts until the Universe escorted me through a chronic illness.
And when we hold on to any belief, we exit the heart, the one place where compassion and love thrive.