Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Shoulds" turn into will or won'ts

I was recently reading some articles about people that work with Hospice patients, because that is one of the things I do.  I believe it is helpful to read about what other people have learned, to begin to gather language and competence with this work.

One point has really stuck with me, it has been circulating in my brain, just waiting to take form.  I tend to write my best when my emotions are very high.  So this morning when I got a phone call telling me that my hospice patient had died, the words came tumbling out as I finished my run.

The opportunity in a terminal diagnosis is the freedom to turn all of the "shoulds" in life into will or won't.   The people I work with are pretty simply in their thinking.  They no longer worry about all the shoulds in their life, they tend to focus on what they want to do and don't feel the need to explain to anyone why they will or won't do something.   Despite the pain and grief that they are carrying, I get to witness moments where they truly live. 

My patient looked at me one morning and said "you are so relaxed, teach me how to do that."  She was feeling a lot of anxiety, and had very limited mobility, so we talked about what she could do.   We started with breathing. So I talked to her about her lungs and we worked together on different muscles to use to breathe.  After that everytime I saw her, we talked about her breathing.  For her, this was not something that she "should" do to feel better.  It started to become something she did, because she wanted to.   

Here is the reality.   Life is a terminal diagnosis, no one knows when they will leave this life or the last time they will look into their loved ones eyes.   Treasure those people, treasure the moments of your life.   

Question to consider: Will you accept that you are going to die one day?   How will you act differentlly?


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