“You are going to die.”
At some point, many of us will hear those words. We will come face-to-face with preparing for our life to end. It may be a long process or it may be a matter of days or weeks. It will be the day we acknowledge that everything we have known for all the years of our life will one day just stop.
I think there is an intimate trust one develops when facing death. It may be with a complete stranger, a family member, a dear friend, or a caretaker.
The person who cares for your mental and physical needs may see you in a way that, in life, we never wanted to be seen. When we reach the time we cannot physically care for ourselves, we must relinquish control of every need to someone else.
There are all sorts of more materialistic plans such as getting our affairs in order, but I am talking about the caring of body, mind, and spirit.
Sometimes we carry burdens we have buried deeply for years and years. There may be a need to finally speak those things and free ourselves from the weight of them.
There is such responsibility of being the person held in such regard. To hear the anger, fears, regrets, and sometimes secrets of someone’s life is a statement of the most intimate trust.
Hospice nurses always talk about the life review occurring near the very end of death. If there is trust, the vulnerability of one’s life may be shared much earlier–if there is trust.
When someone holds your hand and looks into your eyes, you can feel their need to be freed from what weighs them down.
It can be hard, especially after the person passes. You may feel you have possession of something important and may not know what to do with it.
I have found it is easier to think of this as the reading of the most precious biography. A book crafted with the intimate and personal details of life. It is a story that holds you in its embrace. But at some point, the story comes to an end and the book is closed.
You may always remember the poignant parts of the book but it is not your story and the last chapter has been written. All you can do is be thankful you bore witness to it all.