Building community in a changing world

February 22, 2022

Dying In Peace and Alone (Or Not)

Following up on my reading of Roshi Joan Halifax’s “Being with Dying,” I was surprised to learn in Chapter 15 that people often die when caregivers leave the room. Perhaps they wanted to die peacefully and alone; free of the attention or perhaps pained to go in front of a loved one. This can be hard for some family members to accept.

On the other hand, some people want to be held when they die. Others want to be touched. Some want someone to be present, but not touched. It’s important to give the dying the option of what they prefer. It should not be about you as the caregiver. It should be about the one dying. Roshi Joan offers these choices as a possible “boundless abode” for you to use in your practice:

– May I be open with others and myself about my dying
– May I receive others’ love and compassion
– May I forgive myself for mistakes made and things left undone
– May kindness sustain my caregivers and me
– May I, and all beings, live and die peacefully