Circle No: 61 "Caregiving in Times of Death and Dying"

This is dedicated to front line caregivers; doctors, nurses, therapists, first responders and all of us helping to serve those affected in critical ways by the Coronavirus Pandemic.


Emergency rooms around the world are filled with people struggling to live and in states of panic gasping for breath. Emergency personal are overloaded with people in various states of breathing difficulty. These caregivers are trying to keep people alive but there is no cure or treatment other than to hydrate, ventilate and resuscitate. Caregivers themselves are becoming ill and exhausted and losing hope watching people die in what seems like an endless stream of the critically sick. These ill people cannot have their loved ones present and healthcare providers are the ones being asked to witness their final moments. What can they do?


As one who has worked in hospice as a PT and as a Craniosacral Therapist who has help people witness their moments of death, suffering and loss, I would like to offer words and thoughts to caregivers as something they can do that may be useful in these times. My teacher says CST does not cure anything but helps to complete the biological process of life. Sometimes that life process is birthing, growing, developing, healing, aging. Sometimes that life process is dying and dropping the physical body.


A gentle, well intended, quiet touch can help bring a person to a still place, even in moments of dying, in which a person can move into a place of final acceptance of lifetime ending -- even when the ending process is sudden, rapid and unexpected. There is fear, panic, anxiety, pain and suffering. But as the process unfolds, the body gives way to an awareness of one path forward. It is in those moments that words and gentle touch can be a comfort and a pathway to peace.


Those actively dying can be invited to close their eyes and imagine their loved ones before them, telling them they are loved and they wish they were there and wish they could get well, but they also don’t want them to suffer. They hope they get well, but if they have to go, they can go. The family will be sad but we will stick together and be OK.


The patient is also, and most importantly, invited to imagine their form of God, universal consciousness or their spiritual practice to be present before them, in the space just above their bed. Invite them to open their hearts and receive that image as a form of light shining down on them. If they have no spiritual practice, they can close their eyes and focus on any light they may see. Tell the patient they can move into that light or spiritual awareness in their mind and go forward. If they are successful, heart rate and breath will quietly change. And caregiver, you will have offered all you can on behalf of their biologic process. Rest in the awareness that their biologic process in completing. And remember this practice is available to you -- for strength -- in your time of need. You can invite your form of God to descend upon your ER as you rush about your shift.


When spirit is invited, presence is there. "Knock and the door will be opened" is my belief and this I know. It is in times like these that our faith in the great beyond and universal consciousness will carry us.


Together, we will come to a time in which we will be healing and rebuilding our world. In this time of Easter and Passover spend time in quiet awareness and pray within your spiritual practice. Even though we are living in separation we can unite by lighting a candle and getting quiet within ourselves. It is in these times that we can "Be Still and Know" that we are known and we are loved. We can find life and universal love shining down on us at every sunrise and sunset. Rest in that. Look for the comfort in that. Be still and know that. The sun and moon shine on all of us equally. The little waves of the ocean roll up to greet each of us equally when we stand on the beach of humble awareness. Together, we will move forward with a new found knowing of the importance of universal consciousness, loving kindness, sharing, supporting all, rebuilding equally and moving hand in hand into a new world of peace and respect for the natural healing we all have within us.


May a new day of universal love and awareness descend upon us all.



Don Ash

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