Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dying Is Part Of Life


(Photo: wytchwynd photography)
Hi and welcome to the latest post on my blog.

This week I feel that one of the things I need to talk about in the light of recent experiences is how we deal with illness and grief when a loved one is diagnosed with a life limiting illness.


I am not going to tell you what you have to do because every situation is different.  So by way of illustration of one person’s approach in this particular tale I will talk about my dear and long standing friend Mr M.

Mr M is the same age as me and has been married to his partner for the past 19 years.  Approximately 6 months ago Mrs M was diagnosed with a fairly aggressive stomach cancer.

Mr M has faced this situation head on, despite the fact that he has suffered from recurring black outs since sustaining an horrific head injury some years back.

Approximately a month ago Mrs M had to undergo a routine examination at the hospital and as a result of which it was pronounced that she had a few weeks remaining at the most.

When Mr M contacted me, as normal, to give me a progress report I could tell from his voice that he was “beside himself” with emotion. 

He said that after hearing this devastating news he felt like he had “been hit by an express train” and has said since that he regularly feels the tears welling up inside him. 

However, he has maintained a “stiff upper lip” and refuses to allow Mrs M to see him cry.   Despite the seriousness of the situation he encouraged and helped her to “put her affairs in order”.

He confessed that it was difficult at times but that somehow he got through those dark days and they began to rebuild their lives based on the time they perceived that they had remaining.

Eventually his wicked sense of humour returned and they established a routine of short excursions – to the shops etc. – but nothing too strenuous.

Approximately 3 weeks ago things slumped again and Mrs M became virtually bed bound.  She was in a lot of pain and as time passed she was drifiting in and out of consciousness. 

Mr M called in the medical team and as a result she was admitted to a nearby hospice and the latest news is that every day is now a bonus.

Despite all of this Mr M has kept his sense of humour and has decided that as a tribute to Mrs M he has begun studying a Bereavement Counselling course so that he can use this experience to help other people. 

He also asked me (with my music therapy hat on) for any advice that I could give him to help her through her remaining time.  I made a few suggestions and one of which has proved to be of use to them.

I asked him about her favourite music and after a while he came back to me and said that it was Gregorian Chants so I suggested that he take her some CDs that featured that style of music and have them quietly playing in her room.  He reported back that her demeanour had changed and she was now far less agitated and way more relaxed.

So whilst this post is not designed to be a blue print for dealing with those final months, weeks and days of life I do hope that it provides an indication that as normal a life as possible is the aim.

My hope is that her transition from one life state to another is accomplished with dignity and peace.

WRITTEN BY DAVE BAXTER 12TH OCTOBER 2017

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About Dave   I am a coach; speaker; radio presenter and founder of The Blue Sky Company.  I am also a therapist and the co-owner of a virtual light centre called The Crystal Spring.  My therapy work includes music therapy; crystal therapy and I recently qualified as a Reiki Master / Teacher and I am currently studying a Colour Therapy course,

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