The most touching moments are those when the dying person chooses to have their memorial while still living. One of my patients had been bedridden for two weeks and was in end stage organ failure from Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She had not eaten or drank more than a few sips of water during that time, was weak, swollen and exhausted. She barely uttered a handful of words and simply acknowledged the stream of loved ones with a hand squeeze or a dreamy smile.
But on the day she chose to have her memorial, she got up. She showered. She ate a meal. There were 65 people standing in a circle and she STOOD! and continued to do so for three hours while each person expressed their love and shared stories of her life.
She was a wild life biologist, a dog trainer and a huge animal lover and requested that her loved ones give her an animal blessing. She was given the powerful wings of an eagle in order to take flight, the resourcefulness of a tiny mouse in order to muster all her strength for her journey and the roar of a lion so that we could all hear her ferocious love of life. She absolutely glowed, laughed, joked and hugged and kissed every person that came from all over the country to celebrate her amazing life. Her skin and eyes were dark yellow from liver failure and yet it was a most becoming color on her that day as the sun set and she said her goodbyes. She retreated back to her bed and within a few hours, took her last peaceful breath.
Her family had been devastated by her diagnosis and decline. This powerful launch offered a healing balm and transformed beliefs around the death and dying process.