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December 3, 2004
Honoring Transition
Beauty Of Death

Death is as much a part of life as birth. Most of us are thrilled to witness a newborn's arrival into this world. So too, is it an honor to be with a loved one when they pass on. While there is always sadness in losing someone, if we open our minds to the beauty of death, we can understand that it is as powerful a transition as birth.

Most people do not want to be alone when they die. By being at the bedside of a loved one when they are dying, we can help them have a more peaceful, sacred end to physical life. Often those dying have "unfinished business," desiring to make peace with others, heal old wounds, and make a spiritual connection if they do not already have one. People near death are often more honest and real than at any other time in their life, except for perhaps infancy. Being able to be with someone during that time allows for incredible bonding.

We can help a loved one prepare for their final journey by of course making them as comfortable as possible. If we are fortunate enough to be able to have them at home, we want to make sure, if at all possible, that they aren't in pain and have the proper medical attention they need. After that, we can provide them with such comforts as flowers, music, and a favorite blanket or clothing item. Even if they are hospitalized, we can sit and talk with them, read to them, massage them, rub their feet or just hold their hand.

To help them on their spiritual journey, talk about rituals that they might find comforting. Bring treasured objects that they can reflect on. Recite poems or spiritual verse together. Light candles or incense, if possible. Sing and/or play music. Or, simply sit with them in silence.

Allow yourself to feel blessed to be at someone's deathbed. Know that your being there can bring a sense of peace, reconciliation, and acceptance of death to both you and them. In accepting death hopefully, we will no longer fear it, but be able to see the actual beauty in it


Thiên-Lư Bửu-Ṭa, 12695 Sycamore Ave, San Martin, CA 95046 - USA. Tel: (408) 683-0674

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