Choices and the Inevitable

Lyn and NickMy younger sister completed this incarnation on December 29. She was 42. Death comes to us all. It is inevitable, just as the melt in Spring. She was a kind-hearted person to everyone without exception. Lyn’s body had cancer but her spirit did not. Her husband was her sole protector and saintly care-giver for the last month at home. We were  with her when she passed. It was peaceful and she was not in pain. We miss her but are grateful for her release.

I write to encourage all readers to think on certain things that will make your end-time, no matter when it is and for whatever reasons it comes to you, to be as you desire and as benefits you. I hope that through reading this you will understand that the denial of that which will occur to you and to all that you know – death – is foolish and does nothing to soothe the minds of those who will survive you. Instead, the opposite will result. Choosing a coffin is morbid and unkind for those in shock from loss, likewise having a calculator spew out the cost of a funeral, item by item. So, here is a list of what you can do today with your loved ones or friends to prepare for your day of completion. Remember, that day could be later today, for all one knows.

The quality and tenor of the end of a life

  • Think about how you want the environment to be, such as being able to see nature or the sky, music/no music, ambient sounds/ no sound, lots of people/few people visiting at any given time, being read to/or not, if so, what do you want read or recited, also prayer or meditation with you/or not.
  • My sister was a sensitive being but also had no specific spiritual practice other than loose Catholic. Her environment needed to be soft energetically, few people at a time visiting and all keeping their tenor low, their demeanor calm. Nature was often on the TV for imagery. She needed the lights low.
  • Think about what soothes your mind, what irritates or is off-putting to you, or what saps your energy and what restores and supports it. We all know what sustains us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and what depletes. One of the reasons that people who are dying get edgy and angry is because they have not stated their few needs and others don’t pick up on the clues. But that is unfair to both sides, and everyone feels bad in the process. Take care of it now, and write it down.
  • From a consciousness point of view, during the dying process the state of the mind is very important. Therefore, no violent imagery – even from nature – should be within view, and certainly not the majority of shows on TV. The mind should be as clear and calm as possible. If a person is taking medications that effect the mind, such as pain medications or if one is at the point of beginning to see through the veils of life (so-called hallucinating), then violent imagery or angry talking in the room will predispose the person to similar states or imagery as he or she is passing through the first layers of consciousness upon death (bardos). Instead, do all that one can to hold an illumined calm mind and open caring heart. These light one’s way through the bardos.

Funeral plans or similar needs

  • Here in Massachusetts, if one wants a funeral pyre, it can be done but that would not be how most people will attend to their bodily remains. Plan ahead, especially those who have a terminal illness or life-threatening condition such as a heart condition. These diagnoses are given to you so that you can make choices in how you live your life as well as how you will prepare for your death. Choose the coffin you would like, and make as many funeral decisions ahead as possible. My brother-in-law was numb from a month of 24/7 care and only yesterday holding her as she took her last breath, yet today a coffin had to be chosen. My sister and he could not discuss such things when she was alive, even though her form of cancer was fatal and that was known from the beginning. I understand that and sympathize, but the result of that was today and scurrying with deadlines for pictures, obituaries, and mass card verses. Maybe you can do it differently due to forethought.
  • The cost of an American funeral is large, like everything else in the US. Know that up front. Planning ahead puts choices in your hands, including providing your own pine box coffin should you want or a pyre in a meadow.

Love is wise, and wisdom is far-sighted. I know what I want and don’t want around me when my final weeks or days or hours come, not out of control but from kindness to myself, my mind-stream, the people around me, and the journey from this life. Personally, I’m for the pyre. Thank you, Massachusetts. I hope a few people will help with that when the day comes.

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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4 Responses to Choices and the Inevitable

  1. Carolyn Sprague says:

    Thank you Donna for sharing and for the lovely picture. My love to you and Lynda, and to your mother and brother-in-law and all your family. There is much light and peace around Lynda’s passage.

    • Thank you, Carolyn, and to everyone else who has privately emailed. In addition to love during life, please love one another with preparations for that which will come to us all. The death of my youngest sister gives me both sadness and joy, but the lack of sacredness around every aspect of a common American funeral and wake is challenging. Materialism has co-opted everything. Please, everyone, make choices that keep sacredness present for your family after you have passed.

  2. Anne kennedy says:

    Hi Donna,

    Very sorry to hear of the passing of your younger sister. I know what you mean when you say her passing gave you both sadness & joy. Sad you no longer have her on the physical plane but grateful she no longer has to suffer.
    I don’t know whether my thoughts would be helpful to others or not but having lost Ike in 2014, I really understand how planning a funeral/celebration in advance is most helpful for all concerned. As you know Ike was ill for a long time & both of us were pretty open to discussing death, arrangements etc. so when the time came, Ike got the kind of celebration he wanted & the girls & I did not feel stressed about putting what we’d already planned in place. I do think, however, that some people just aren’t ready to talk about it & I don’t know whether my saying how much easier it was for all concerned will be beneficial or not. I just know that for us it was right.
    Thinking of you with love & sending light & peace.

    Much love,

    • Thank you, Anne, for writing. Yes, clearly my sister and her husband considered it contrary to their insistence to not give the cancer or her terminal situation any energy. They thought it best to not attend to those necessary plans. I respect that because I love both of them. However, it was very difficult on him as it would be on anyone the day after the death of a loved one. love to you Anne!

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