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  • Kitty Edwards

Crossing the River

“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.."

~ Khalil Gibran

Acceptance of our mortal condition is not easy. We live in a culture in which we think, we hope, we search for remedies and cures for all illnesses.

Our medical system is geared for analysis, diagnosis and solution. Medical practitioners work hard to find a way to avoid death. Too often death becomes a medical emergency, approached with urgency and chaos.

It takes courage to face death head on.

Death is a river we must all cross one day. Although we may circumnavigate it, avoiding its curves and windings, we will encounter its rapids eventually. When we take the opportunity to sit quietly by the river of death, contemplating its nature, we become calm.

In this new year, we at The Living & Dying Consciously Project invite you to take your seat by the river of death.

Initiate conversations with family and friends. Complete your literal documents indicating your wishes at the end of your life. Tell the stories you need to tell. Meet your fears of suffering, loss, and grief. Develop a practice of letting go – meditation, yoga, HeartMath. Volunteer at a local hospice to sit with the dying.

Change the quality of your life. Embrace death as a rite of passage.

This month our Conscious Transitions Workbook focuses the Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) directive.

Through a POLST you may choose from a number of levels of care at the point your situation takes a turn towards death. A DNR directive focuses on one specific treatment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A DNR serves as a stop sign for emergency personnel who are asked to allow for natural death. Both forms are created in consultation with your physician.

Our conversations will make it easier to make decisions when the time comes and in the process change the way we confront the end of life.

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