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Open the Door

Understanding the spiritual and intellectual can align.

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  • When my Best Friend on the Planet occasionally veered from intellectual to fantastical and I'd call her on it, she'd say it was her lineage with its Middle European cultural mysticism.  And we'd laugh.
  • We laughed and solved legal,professional issues and debated ideas on a high plane for over 20 years. Sometimes when she thought I tried too hard to make a point, she would give me The Look.
  •  Then she was found to have an inoperable terminal illness.  She was to live only 7 months. She asked me to help organize her care and we had a few direct and cautious discussions of how Hospice might be chosen. But she didn't make that call. Instead her path gently drifted from the direct and factual conversations of our past to an invoking of the spiritual, to discussions of beauty, to savoring of a meal I made for her and her husband. She transformed our relationship.
  • A few weeks before dying my Best Friend on the Planet told me I had to ensure that the door of the room she was in would be opened upon her death.  She made it clear we would not have an intellectual conversation on the was her Middle European cultural demand...and she gave me The Look. And on that morning of her death, with the door open, the room fairly shimmered with her unseen presence.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Our intellectual selves need to be willing to let go of some controls over the mystery in end of life.


Myself Deborah Randall


Join the conversation:

Photo of Aaron Wong

Thanks for sharing, Deborah. I think cultural traditions are a big component of this challenge.  
Sharing your traditions with someone can be a very intimate act, and almost comforting. Being something mysterious and ethereal, Mysticism can be a very poetic to talk about death.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Deborah. Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.