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About accepting death
George K
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2018 6:50 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

James Finley gives this insight drawn from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ work with the dying

“Those who come to accept death don’t look up at you from their deathbeds to say how happy they are in the ways we typically think of happiness. For those who come to acceptance of death pass beyond happiness and sadness as emotional states that depend on conditions. Those who come to acceptance in death have about them a certain transparent childlike quality, an uncanny peace. It's a peace not of this world. For in accepting their seemingly unacceptable situation, they are transformed in ways that leave us feeling strangely touched and privileged to be in their presence. Being in their presence can open us up to a deep sense of how invincibly precious we are to God in the midst of our fragility. 

“This experience of being with those who have come to an acceptance of dying can help us with our ongoing efforts to learn how to die. For as we learn from God how to die, forgoing all that is less than or other than God’s love as our sole source of security and identity, it just might be possible that when the moment of our death finally comes, nothing will happen. For in some deep, unexplainable way we will have already crossed over into the deathless love of God.”  

dutiful deb
Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 10:10 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1910

This piece reminds me so much of my dad's passing over eleven years ago. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in January, and died in March that same year. It was all so fast and sudden. He and I were very close and as hard as it was to let him go, seeing the peace like that described in your post did bring a lot of comfort. 

Of course, my mom's experience was much different; she began showing signs of dementia almost immediately--in fact, she was even having problems before dad died--and her life ended over a decade later.   It sounds strange, but even though I walked with Mom through her disease longer than with my dad, I often find myself feeling like there was more "unfinished business" with Mom's passing. Maybe that's because, with my dad's situation, I was able to see the peace and acceptance described; it could be that we were able to say "Goodbye" to each other and talk about things before he went.