InnerSelf

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

Death and Dying

Death & DyingScroll to the bottom of this page for links to more articles on "death & dying".

Death & Dying Category graphicDeath & Dying are subjects that are not usually brought up in "polite" conversation. While death is an everyday occurence, it has been a taboo topic and one that we have often been afraid to mention.

Examining our Fears about Death & Dying

However, much can be gained by examining our fears, our beliefs, and our expectations about death and dying. Especially when we've lost loved ones, or if we have loved ones (or even we ourselves) approaching that fateful passage, the transition of death.

These are emotional subjects and ones that necessitate a loving supportive guiding hand. The authors whose writings we share with you do just that: they share their experiences and their insights and in so doing, help you through your experience with loss and grief.

From Denial of Death to Acceptance of Dying

The articles in this section deal with acceptance & denial, with life after death as well as life before death, and provide assistance in dealing with aging & mortality. Joyce and Barry Vissell share A Mother's Final Gift... the story of Joyce's mother who saw death as her final joyful adventure.

All of these viewpoints on death and dying help us move away from the superstitious dogma and fears that we've been raised with... and help us see death indeed as a  "graduation" from this stage of life and as the birth into a new one.

Facing Aging and Death Without Fear

Facing Aging and Death Without Fear

by Denise Linn. We are all getting older every day. One day you and I will both be old, if it is our destiny to live that long. It is our choice whether we live in fear and act according to other people's expectations of what an older person is or whether we allow ourselves to be authentic and real. Start now; you are an elder in training...

Read more: Facing Aging and Death Without Fear

What Happens After We Die?

What Do I Think Happens After We Die?

by David Jay Brown. What do I think happens after we die? I think about this question every day as an exercise of the imagination, and I frequently change my mind about it. Death is something that many people try to avoid thinking about, but I haven’t been able to stop wondering about it since I was a child...

Read more: What Happens After We Die?

To Everything There Is a Season

To Everything There Is a Season by Gary Kowalskiby Gary Kowalski. Part of my job is to conduct the memorial whenever a death occurs. Although each service is tailored to the circumstances, I begin many of them with the same reading: “To everything there is a season...” It helps me to remember that our lives proceed according to a natural rhythm.

Read more: To Everything There Is a Season

Awful Gifts: Blessings in Disguise

Awful Gifts: Blessings in Disguise by Sheila Pearl, MSWby Sheila Pearl, MSW. Sometimes we wonder how we are going to survive the seemingly awful circumstances that appear in our lives. We may even wonder if we want to survive the nightmare at all. As much as my husband's dementia was our worst nightmare, I have grown to see that awful time in our lives as an awesome gift.

Read more: Awful Gifts: Blessings in Disguise

When Illness or Injury Can’t Be Fixed — and Dying Is Okay

When Illness or Injury Can’t Be Fixed — and Dying Is Okay by Meg Blackburn Losey, PhD.

by Meg Blackburn Losey, Ph.D.  Sometimes there are circumstances that we aren’t meant to change or heal. Sometimes it is time for a soul to move on in its journey. Life is like that. We have, throughout our lives, windows of opportunity through which we can transition right on out of our earthly lives. Dying is part of living, and it is...

Read more: When Illness or Injury Can’t Be Fixed — and...

A Mother's Final Gift

Joyce Vissell, author of the article & book: A Mother's Final Giftby Joyce Vissell.

My mother died three years ago, and her death and dying process has changed my life. I’ve never been afraid of death itself. Rather, I’ve been afraid of the process it takes to get there. My mother’s dying process played out my worst nightmare. She...

Read more: A Mother's Final Gift

After the Storm

Janis Amatuzio, M.D.

When faced with the death or serious illness of a loved one — whether a parent, son or daughter, spouse, or long-time friend — we are almost always shaken, often to the core. When the death is unexpected or sudden, our grief, anger, and confusion can be overwhelming. It can feel as if our values or belief systems have failed, leaving us unprepared to go on.

Read more: After the Storm

A Fork in the Road

Mary Ann Morgan Since that day in the elevator over 35 years ago when my mom first spoke of my destiny, the purpose of my journey began to come into focus. The message of "Living in the Moment" was given greater depth when shortly before the writing of this book was completed; my own journey brought me to a fork in the road.

Read more: A Fork in the Road

Apprenticeship with the Shadow of Loss

Deborah Morris Coryell

Could any of us watching Peter Pan struggling with his shadow -- to find his shadow, to keep his shadow and, ultimately, to "bind" his shadow to him -- have known that the shadow carries powerful psychological implications? We might have noticed that Peter seemed different once his shadow was firmly attached. He was still delightful and charming but slightly subdued and not quite so self-centered and irresponsible. A bit more... dare we say, grown up? As Peter Pan could tell us, the shadow is...

Read more: Apprenticeship with the Shadow of Loss

Afraid of Dying?

Dr. Heather Anne Harder There is much you can do to prepare yourself for the great adventure of death. But it is well to remember that you are alive, and as such, you are meant to live. Avoid the tendency to become preoccupied or obsessed with death. Keep death in perspective with other major life events.

Read more: Afraid of Dying?

Beginning and Endings

Nancy Dufresne & Sylvia Browne

Learning to live with the death of a person or persons I love is teaching me more about myself and about living. I am more complex than I realized, and yet I'm honest about my weaknesses. I am in the process of learning that weakness is strength, not a flaw.

Read more: Beginning and Endings

Healing Beyond Loss

Alexandra KennedyWe so often get in the way of grief; we try to suppress, truncate, postpone, or ignore it. We are afraid of being overwhelmed, of becoming nonfunctional: "If I start crying, I'll never stop:" But grief is more powerful than our resistance. In grief, it is natural to feel...

Read more: Healing Beyond Loss

Death Denial

Margaret Coberly, Ph.D., R.N.

Most people are so strongly habituated to death denial that when death appears they are caught entirely by surprise. Overwhelmed and confused, they tend to miss out on the extraordinary opportunity for peace and resolution that is inherent in the dying trajectory.

Read more: Death Denial

A Most Magnificent Journey

Randy Peyser

by Randy Peyser.

My grandma was dying. I was afraid. I was afraid of death. I was afraid to be with her when she died. I was afraid of all the grief I was going to feel. And I was afraid of everyone else's pain, too. I knew I could stay in California and let her die without me, but I couldn't do that. As frightened as I was, I wanted to hold her hand and be there for her.

Read more: A Most Magnificent Journey

Fear and Denial of Death

David Wendell MollerAs enormous community effort goes into cleaning up areas of pornography, litter, and dirt, modern society spends considerable effort on disinfecting the experience of dying. This inclination to hide and exclude death from everyday social activity is supported by the transfer of the place of death from home to the hospital.

Read more: Fear and Denial of Death

So What's Really Going On?

bobby jennings

"The times they are a changing", so wrote Bob Dylan in the early 60's. The title had its meaning to the young people of the period and in the current social evolution of man, but really it has always had a universal meaning and not a very complicated philosophy. The times have always changed and will continue to do so. The social order of man has continued to ever evolve.

Read more: So What's Really Going On?

Facing Aging & Mortality

Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D. by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D. In our youth-obsessed culture, the advancing specter of growing old becomes something to be tirelessly avoided. Our society's beliefs about growing old don't honor the eldership status of our seniors. What's usually overlooked is the tremendous storehouse of knowledge and wisdom that...

Read more: Facing Aging & Mortality

I Didnt Know About Death

Sandy Goodmanby Sandy Goodman. We have not done well with dying. We have denied its reality and considered it an end to life that should be avoided at all costs. We tell our children that Grandma died and went to a beautiful place called Heaven, and then we quit saying her name. Instead of seeing death as the next stage of life and exploring the possibilities of such a belief, we choose to let fear keep us ignorant.

Read more: I Didnt Know About Death

A Ghost of a Chance

Prema Baba Swamiji (Dr. Donald Schnell)"Is she going to make it?" I asked, throwing my arms around my grandfather's stooped shoulders, enfolding him in a tight embrace. My grandmother was dying of cancer. What does one ask in such a dismal situation? Oma and I had often talked about spiritual ideas. She firmly believed we all have souls...

Read more: A Ghost of a Chance

Stargazer Lilies

Kim Hartman

At the time, I was totally unprepared for the dramatic and extraordinary events that would unfold over the next 21 days. I would see and learn of a few more of the mysteries of the universe. I would get a glimpse of the phenomenal wonders and magic of life, physical death, life after death, and the transition that takes place during this period.

Read more: Stargazer Lilies

Death and Dying

After living sixty or sixty-five years people tend to move around a lot. Many buy and use house trailers and motor homes, enduring cramped conditions to seek new horizons. Still others devise various forms of travel to see the world or the country 'while still young enough to enjoy it.' Many, if not most, hike, walk, swim, jog, cycle, climb, swing golf clubs or tennis racquets or fly rods. The shared desire seems to be to achieve a state of almost perpetual motion. Action symbolizes life. Death is such a very long stillness. There seems to be a grim universal blind hope that it will be harder for the death dart to hit a moving target.

Read more: Death and Dying

Death and The Spirit World

 

Michael Newton, Ph.D.

At the moment of death, our soul rises out of its host body. If the soul is older and has experience from many former lives, it knows immediately it has been set free and is going home. As they move further away from Earth, souls experience an increasingly brilliant light around them. Some will briefly see a grayish darkness and will sense passing through a tunnel or portal. The differences between these two phenomena depends upon the exit speed of the soul, which in turn relates to their experience. The pulling sensation...

Read more: Death and The Spirit World

A Fathers Day Wish

I never gave much importance to my father's death and its effect on my life. I tucked it away under the category something unfortunate that happened when you were a kid. It felt as though I put all those unexpressed feelings, words and emotions into a little invisible jar and screwed the cap on tightly. My mind must have known that this was a very important jar, because it found a safe place deep inside of me to keep it. As long as no one came along to bother the jar, it stayed tucked away and my life seemed at ease. However, the problem was that I couldn't keep it unbothered and tucked away forever. People did come along to disturb it.

Read more: A Fathers Day Wish

I Listened, and Learned

Janis Amatuzio, M.D. My mother, my great encourager and supporter, listened patiently as I read her the last chapter of this book, and she did what every daughter prays for at such a moment. She cried and then looked at me with an expression of such admiration and pride. As my mother gave me this gift, she asked a question that would give me one more...

Read more: I Listened, and Learned

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