Art of Dying Volume II - Page 82

OLIVIA BAREHAM
Older people say , " So let me get this straight . When I die my body is going to stay right here , and my husband will be able to see me , right ?" And I say , " Yes ." " Well , that feels comforting . Yes . I like that idea . Okay . And how long am I going to be here ?" And I say , " You ' ll be here for two or three days ," and they go , " I can probably see myself , can ' t I , after I ' m dead ?" And I say , " Probably . I don ' t know for sure . But , I believe so .” And this smile comes on their face . They ' ve got a little bit more control now . They know what ' s going to happen because they know that they ' re still going to be hovering around their beloved home , instead of looking at their body in a refrigerator somewhere . They ' ll see their body looking beautiful and they ' ll be able to come up close and say , " Wow . My body is dead ." ( laughs ). And , " There ' s my husband ." And , " I can put my arm around him ."
My biggest teacher last year was a man who did chemotherapy . He drank a spoonful of chemotherapy the day that he died . He was in his late 40s , and the most incredibly conscious man . He was at home with his wife and two kids . He said , " Olivia , if the doctor presents me with this possibility of chemotherapy , even though I can feel every day my body is declining , and I ' m probably going to die , who am I to say no thank you to that ? If that ' s crossing my field , I ' m just going to say thank you . I don ' t bank on it working . I don ' t even hope that it works .”
To say no to it didn ' t feel right to him . But he never leaned upon hope . This man held recovery as a possibility , as just as strong a possibility as he was going to die , neither one had more weight . He didn ' t say , " Oh , I hope this is going to work . Oh , my God . I hope this is going to work ." He wasn ' t attached to it working or not because he was just as willing to hold the possibility that he was dying . It really didn ' t matter to him one way or the other .
He had promised his 11 year-old son , " I ' m going to do everything possible to stay here with you ." And that was important to him . And I think that actually helped him to say yes to the possibility factor of the chemotherapy because it validated to his son , " I ' ll do anything . I promise you that . I can ' t promise you it ' ll work . I can ' t promise you that I ' ll live ." And I think that was a gift to his son . His son then knew there was no blame .
It could never be , " Oh , my dad gave up . He didn ' t try . He was going through this new age stuff ." His father did everything he could , as he promised , with a smile on his face and acute consciousness .
He was such a powerful teacher to me . They all are .

Every person is completely different in the way they approach death . We are like snowflakes .

82 | ART OF DYING
OLIVIA BAREHAM Older people say, "So let me get this straight. When I die my body is going to stay right here, and my husband will be able to see me, right?" And I say, "Yes." "Well, that feels comforting. Yes. I like that idea. Okay. And how long am I going to be here?" And I say, "You'll be her H܈܈YH^\[^HH[ؘXHYH^\[[KY\IHXYȈ[H^KؘXKHۉۛ™܈\K] H[Y]H˸'H[\Z[HY\›ۈZ\XK^IݙHH]H][ܙH۝ˈ^Hۛ] [\[X]\B^Hۛ]^IܙH[[Hݙ\[˜\[Z\[ݙYYK[XYو[]Z\H[HYY\]܈Y]\K^IYBZ\H[X]]Y[[^IHXH˜YH\H[^Kˈ^HH\XY ]YK[ \I^H\ؘ[ [ H[]^H\H\[[K^HY\XX\\YX\\HX[™Y[[\\KH[Hۙ[ق[[\\HH^H]HYY H\[\›]H [H[[ܙYXHۜ[\X[H\]YH]\YH[YˈBZY ]XKYH܈\[YH]\œX[]Hو[[\\K][YH[Y[]\H^H^HH\X[[[IHؘXB[YK[HH^H[[H]Y] ܛ[^HY[ IH\[^H[ž[KHۉ[ۈ]ܚ[ˈHۉ][B]]ܚ˸'B^H]YY[Y[K]B]\X[Y\ۈK\X[[Xݙ\B\HX[]K\\\ۙHX[]B\H\[YKZ]\ۙHY[ܙBZY HY^K HH\\[ܚˈ ^H HH\\[ܚˈH\ۉ]XY]ܚ[܈X]\BH\\\[[HX[]H]H\Z[ˈ]X[HYX]\[HۙB^H܈H\HYZ\Y\ LHYX\[ۋIH[™]\][XH^H\H][K[]\[\ܝ[[K[H[]XX[B[Y[H^HY\HX[]HX܈وB[[\\HX]\H][Y]Y\ۋI[][ˈHZ\H[H] H[Z\H[B] ܚˈH[Z\H[H]I]K[B[]\HY\ۋ\ۈ[ۙ]\H\[YK][]\K ^HY]H\ HYKH\[Y\]YHY\™]\Y]\][H[ \HZ\Y ]HZ[Hۈ\XH[X]Hۜ[\ۙ\˂H\XH\[XX\YK^H[\K]\H\ۈ\\][BY\[[H^H^B\XX] H\BZHۛٛZ\˂ TшRS