Source: Dr. Ira Byock
I highly recommend reading two of Dr. Ira Byock’s books, “Dying Well”
and “Four Things That Matter the Most” available on www.amazon.com.
Dr. Ira Byock is a leader and educator in promoting quality care at the end of life. Below is a framework he developed that outlines some of the issues many people may be contemplating as they approach death. His findings are included here as part of a holistic understanding of the dying process. It can often be a time of new insights, personal growth, and inner healing.
- Sense of completion with worldly affairs
- Sense of completion in relationships with community.
- Sense of meaning about one’s individual life
- Experiencing love of “self”
- Experiencing love of others
- Sense of completion in relationships with family and friends
- Acceptance of the finality of life- of one’s existence as an individual
- Sense of a new “self” beyond personal loss
*Sense of meaning about life in general
**”Letting go, often with a sense of relief…”
As devotees of Lord Krishna, we are well aware that this material body is temporary and that the soul, the “real self” is eternal. Yet, when told we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, each of us stands on a different place on the spiritual path and each of us will initially react in a different way. However, our hope is that each devotee of the Lord in our Krishna consciousness movement will receive the kindness and love from fellow congregational members, whether we are senior devotees or someone who has just joined our temple. Our hope and prayer is that each Vaishnava will be well cared for by the loving devotees in their community by guiding the terminally ill devotee to a nearby hospice agency for the professional help that is required and also by organizing a group of devotees who are enthusiastic to participate in the devotee’s care by visiting with meals offered to Lord Krishna (prasadam) and garlands from the presiding Deities at the temple or from home Deities. In addition, these kind-hearted devotees can sing bhajans at the bedside of the dying devotee and also to the family members, read to them from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and patiently sit and talk with them about their situation and needs.
In this way, every terminally ill Vaishnava will hopefully reach the goal of Krishna consciousness which is to remember the Lord at the time of death and return Home, Back to Godhead, never having to return again to this temporary world of birth and death. To participate in this transcendental occasion of someone’s auspicious departure from this world is a divine blessing, not only for the soul returning back to Godhead, but also for those who are allowed to witness such a rare event.
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“A devotee is happy even in this life because although in material existence we have many needs, all his material needs are satisfied, and when he at last quits his body, he goes back home, back to Godhead, without a doubt”