During all my years of pastoral care, I have never had the privilege of being with someone when they die. I’ve visited dying colleagues and friends at St Luke’s hospice, Cape Town, in the last period of their lives; I’ve witnessed their being cared for beautifully – but I’ve never been there at the exact moment of passing. I’ve been asked why I consider it a privilege to be present when temporal death takes place. It comes from my belief system. It is the wonder of a new life beginning, the wonder of someone going to meet their maker, returning to their source of life. In some ways, death is like a birth; it is the transition to a new life.
I am myself now closer to my end than to my beginning.
Dying is part of life. We have to die. The Earth cannot sustain us and the millions of people that came before us. We have to make way for those who are yet to be born. And since dying is part of life, talking about it shouldn’t be taboo. People should die a decent death. For me that means having had the conversations with those I have crossed in life and being at peace. It means being able to say goodbye to loved ones – if possible, at home.
Read the full article in The Guardian by clicking here.
**Please note this article does not reflect the view of ehospice or The Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa ( HPCA) and in no way implies a position on assisted dying.