Photo Credit: https://theelmlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/img_4335.jpg
“I am not afraid to die. I am afraid of losing you.”
When the death comes to us, we are going to leave this earth and everything that came with it will be left behind.
The memory. The laugh. The smile. The rain drops on my face. Smell of coffee. Ocean wave. Snow angels. night sky.
And just before the death (an hour, a day, a week), many fear that when they close their eyes, that will be the last memory they will have.
But what if...
We can welcome death? What if waiting for death is not a dreadful experience but an anticipation of unknown (like a child waiting for the first day of kindergarten – slightly anxious but excited to discover the unknown?)
What if we don't lose everything when we depart this earth?
There has to be a way!
As I am getting ready for my daughter’s first pre-K day, I am teaching my girl how to read, how to share, how to ask for help when she is lost...
I tell her, “Hannah, all the other kids will know how to read the book and you should, too otherwise you will be left alone.”
I tell her, “Hannah, you need to learn to share because when you go to Pre-K, everyone will be sharing and you don’t want to be the mean one to hold on to your stuff.”
I tell her, "Hannah, if you don't know what to do, you must ask."
Can we get ready for death with the anticipation like a child waiting for her first day of Pre-K (with excitement... although there is a bit of fear of unknown)?
Here are some ideas:
1. Create a room that she/he will be in when she/he dies so that she/he can feel comfortable in it. It could be her coffin or her grave. Decorate it with her/him.
2. Play with people who will be in the funeral. Who will she/he invite?
Create invitation cards together.
3. What will she need to learn before she dies so that she does not feel alone and left out when she dies?
Create something that she can bring with her when she dies. (Storybook? A quilt? Blog page?)
1. Check list: patients must have these things before they die.
(For kindergarten, I needed to sign names of people who will be picking up my daughter, her immunization records, whether she needed extended hours, etc.)
What will that be?
Perhaps a check list and recommended preparation kit?
2. End of life open house.
For kindergarten, they had an open house where children and parents were able to visit the facility and see how other children are interacting in the space.
Perhaps there could be a place where patients/family can experience a better end of life? Provide a tour of the end of life?