I was given a beautiful gift recently.
As you may or may not know, I am a Medical Reiki Master, and one of my offerings is to provide Reiki to those at the end of life in the hospice setting. I have shared Reiki with over one hundred people at the end of life and each experience is unique and special in its own way.
With the nature of hospice, I don’t always get to share a lot of time with them. Sometimes I only get to meet with them once before they pass away but oftentimes, I get to meet with them regularly. If I am lucky, I get to share many months together before they depart.
I met a lovely woman last week. She was admitted to hospice recently and her friend requested Reiki for additional support as she was quickly nearing the end of her life. It was a beautiful session and she looked very relaxed and peaceful afterward.
I received a call from her friend requesting another visit for a reiki session as she was very close to the end of her life, and she felt that Reiki would be helpful during this transitional period.
I arrived at her home to find her friend, caregiver, and a longtime friend at her bedside. I entered the room where only the sunlight lit the room, her loved ones were speaking quietly and the music she loved was playing in the background softy.
Her caregiver was about to give some of her scheduled medication shortly after I arrived.
In that moment time stood still and the most sacred thing happened that brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it. There was little drop of medicine that landed on her chin and her caregiver so lovingly took a tissue to wipe the drop away from her chin and then she began to softly rub her face with her hand, slowly from cheek to cheek and then to the side of her head, ever so tenderly and gently. I noticed that this beautiful woman’s breathing began to change, and I knew that she was very close. I was at the foot of the bed, offering Reiki and holding space for her and her loved ones.
I encouraged her friends to gather near and I softly whispered “Thank you, you did amazing work here and that it is ok to let go” as the loving energy of Reiki helped to support her. They began whispering softly to go be in the garden and smell the flowers that she loved to tend to, climb the mountains that she loved to explore and to ride that fast corvette that she adored. She let go just a few moments after hearing their beautiful words and gentle touch, sending her off with so much tenderness and love. They said goodbye in that final breath.
Witnessing someone take their last breath is something that I feel is the greatest honor, and I knew in that moment that I was given very a special gift. I said a prayer of gratitude and another prayer wishing her a safe passage to the world I only can only begin to imagine on the other side.
Time slowed even more, and we all stood there silently witnessing this sacred moment.
There were tears of course, but there was also some laughter as they shared stories of her life and friendship that they all spent together. She was a woman who had lost her husband fairly recently and had a chronic illness that caused significant limitations in mobility in her later years. She lived many years with chronic pain, so in a sense they were relieved that her suffering had finally ended. They planned on dressing her in her favorite cozy housecoat and Dallas Cowboys socks for her final ride to the funeral home.
I am reminded, yet again, how precious life is and how death and birth are so similar, both so sacred. Not only did I witness the most beautiful death, but I am reminded how I want to leave this world, surrounded by my loved ones, soft lighting, a few candles, and listening to my favorite music.
I have an End-of-Life playlist that I have created for myself, frequently adding special songs that I love and cherish, and the list is getting longer as I help to create playlists for my clients. Each time I hear a song that they loved; I am reminded of them. Neil Diamond, Chris Stapleton, Claude DeBussy, Suzanne Ciani, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette and so many more that remind me of some very special people that I have met along the way. I will carry each of them with me when I pass, I’m sure, because each of them have been my greatest teachers and friends.
I hope that I have made a small contribution, helping to bring a bit of comfort and ease on their final leg of their journey, sharing the gift of Reiki. I do not take this work lightly and honor the work that all caregivers do for people at the end of life. Especially this beautiful young woman who tenderly cared for her patient at the bedside until her very last breath. I am in awe of the tenderness and compassion that she shared with this beautiful soul. She is such a gift for the future patients she cares for. I honor you both today and thank you for reminding me of the beauty of human connection and touch. We all could use a little more of that, I think.
I do believe that we all can have a beautiful death, I have witnessed it and encourage you to plan well in advance documenting all of your final wishes.
Creating a death plan can offer so much peace knowing that all your affairs are in order and allowing that precious time to be spent sharing time with your loved ones, rather than having to worry about so many loose ends at the end. We don’t get a second chance to get this right my friends.
I urge you to get the conversations started with your loved ones on what “ A Good Death” would look like to you. My family is probably tired of me talking about death and dying but I can assure you that they will laugh about it in the end because like Frank Sinatra, singing one of my favorite songs “My Way” (which of course is on my end-of-life playlist!) They will have less to worry about because I’ll have it all planned, even down to the fuzzy socks.
Much love my fellow travelers