Planning For Peaceful Transitions
My name is Diane Goble from Sisters, Oregon.
I loved the drawings and the handwriting font that temper Roz Chast’s memoir, “Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?” They make a di?cult subject seem a little less fearful and at times even humorous as she takes us through the illnesses and deaths of first her father then her mother.
Chast shares her roller coaster ride of emotions as she struggles to have the necessary conversations with her recalcitrant parents, deal with doctors, insurance, medical bills, and the overwhelming responsibilities of caregiving for one’s aging parents along with managing the rest of her life.
In my own family, I experienced extremes between my father’s and my mother’s
deaths. My father dropped dead of a heart attack at age 62 the night before he was to go into the hospital for some tests to check out his heart. There was no time to discuss anything.
My mother had it all planned out years in advance. She told my sister and me what she wanted. The paperwork was all filled out; funeral arrangements all taken care of. She languished for years and died in her sleep as she wanted at age 89.
I ended up being involved with many families as a hospice volunteer o? and on over 25 years during the time they experienced the decline and death of a loved one, Roz Chast’s narrative sounded very familiar to me. Family dynamics are very interesting as they try to figure out this dilemma they find themselves in that nobody wants to talk about.
As my counseling practice evolved, I found myself spending more and more time with the elderly listening to their stories, and learning about what it's like to grow older and deal with end-of-life issues, including talking about dying.
What often gets neglected is those necessary conversations about wishes for end of life care early on. Decisions often end up being made in the heat of the moment in the middle of a crisis in the emergency room.
The medical team has their protocols to do everything and often don’t listen to family members. Family members often haven’t discussed the patient’s wishes for end of life treatment, there is no paperwork, and disagreements ensue.
With no Advance Healthcare Directive, no one knows what the patient would want if they can’t speak or respond. It becomes a dreadful situation for everyone involved and can cause long-term trauma for the survivors when things go downhill fast.
Ten years ago, I created an online training program to teach people in the healing arts profession to become Transition Guides to coach people through their dying process— to make sure the paperwork is filled out and the conversations have taken place, and everyone is on the same page; to help the family work out a plan; and to be part of the support team to ensure the dying person a peaceful transition.
In 2015, I turned that training program into a workbook to help caregivers and patients learn together to practice the art of conscious dying by preparing to leave their body peacefully and return home with their loved ones who are waiting just beyond the veil.
It all begins with defining your values about the end of your life and sharing your wants for end-of-life care with your family and doctor to assure that your wishes for a peaceful transition are carried out.
What I learned with great clarity from my near-death experience by drowning 47 years ago is— WE DON’T DIE!!! When we leave our body, our life goes on and we are lovingly welcomed home.
Diane Goble is one of 22-plus collaborators in a book compiled by Dr. Penny Sartori and Kelly Walsh titled, “The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences: How the Messages of NDEs Positively Impact the World” (Watkins 2018)… available atamazon.com and all major booksellers.