What Dying People Talk About

General Topics: 

Hospice chaplain Kerry Egan has found, through her years of experience talking to dying people, that very few of them are asking the “big” questions.  They are not even, as the old joke suggested W.C. Fields was doing as he read the bible on his deathbed, “looking for loopholes.”

So what DO dying people talk to chaplains about?  Probably the same thing living people talk about—their families.   Kerry says, “They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave.  Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.” 

Years earlier, Kerry had a professor in divinity school who didn’t think these family-oriented deathbed conversations were quite profound enough.  He was convinced that a chaplain with a respectable depth of spiritually would have these people talking about the big topics such as the meaning of life, God, and the like.   If Kerry could talk to that professor again today, she would explain “that people talk to the chaplain about their families because that is how we talk about God.  That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives.  That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence.”

She refers to family as a “crucible of love” where we learn lessons of love and lessons of forgiveness.  Read Kerry’s memorable blog here:  http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/28/my-faith-what-people-talk-about-before-they-die/

Is someone close to you in the process of dying and you’re not quite sure what to do or how to help?  Long-time theosophist and hospice nurse Nelda Samarel has written a book called “Helping the Dying: A Guide for Families and Friends Assisting Those in Transition,” and you can have it right now for free.  Click here for a pdf download:  http://international.theoservice.org/news/helpingthedying.pdf