Receiving a diagnosis of death can be shocking and bring on emotions many are not comfortable dealing with. We may go through stages as well as a profound sense of grief at leaving our loved ones and over life’s work we feel we have not completed. Many want to re-evaluate their lives, relationships, and spirituality (or lack thereof), asking questions they may not have thought a great deal about until now.
A life review can be a useful tool (as will the Legacy Project described next) in improving the mental state of the dying person. This review will be different for everyone, but essentially, it is allowing the dying to express their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. It is thinking and discussing responsibility – what were you responsible for in your life (your actions, thoughts and life). Forgiveness plays a large role in the life review because it allows the person dying to let go of old thoughts and feelings and resentments that have weighed them down. Which brings the client to a place of acceptance, of their life, their choices (good & bad) and their death. Acceptance of death can lead one to a place of not only letting go, but of gratitude and feelings of peace and joy.
A Life Review can explore how different events or people shaped your life or impacted it. What accomplishments you are proud of or what opportunities you feel you missed. What lessons have you learned. What dreams were unmet or what regrets you may have. What roles did you have in your life and how were they important to you. These are just a few of the area’s we can study, discuss and investigate at your pace and at your desire.
The Life review tends to be an internal process, usually done with Catherine in her office or at your home. The Legacy project can and should involve family and friends as it is far more of an external process, shifting the focus from one of death and loss to one of the life you have lived. It can be the creation of a photo album, memory book, audio recordings or letters left to different people. Videos can be created, or recipe boxes – the only limitation to this project is in the people creating it. I have seen a grandparent create hug throws for their grandchildren, and adult children create picture frames from wallpaper in their parent’s home. Literally – the sky is the limit. I have many ideas to help you get started on this as your energy level allows.
It may sound morbid but creating a plan for how you would like your final days to be can be incredibly stress relieving. I have a form you can take home and discuss with your loved one(s), but it will include questions like:
- I would like my doctor, physician or health professional to give me:
- The person(s) I want to care for me and make decisions is/are:
- The person(s) I do NOT want to be involved or responsible for my care:
- Here is what I want to happen to my pets:
- Here are my spiritual, religious, scientific, philosophical beliefs that are important to me:
- How I want my room to look, sound. Smell prior to my death
- How I want my body to be treated after death
Thanks to Zenith Virago at zenithvirago.com
Clients have the option to choose to do some, all and none of the work outlined above. We are here to serve you and your needs as you die.