The Picturing Death Project Journal Entries from 1999-2003

The simple but effective structure for the Picturing Death Project, a cast glass table, four chairs, and journals, provide a structure for journal writing with 4 questions that help participants examine how we will choose to live with the knowledge that death is inevitable. Currently, the project table, chairs and journals reside at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan in Kalamazoo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Journal Entry 158

You do not feel a physical dimension to yourself but a presence with another person. Yo try to stay connected to those individuals you are closest to (when you are alive). I’m not sure how long this connection lasts or what happens if and when the connection stops. I don’t think that it necessarily goes on forever. Perhaps that connection transforms into something that gets absorbed by others who are still living. I am also not sure what determines how long the person who has died remains present. Some people who have died have an ability to send messages to those living. This happens near the time of death. Perhaps those who receive the message are ones who are receptive to receiving it.

I have experienced the death of my father who was very close to me. I’m not sure what typed of a death he had as he was not responsive for the last 2 days. HE seemed to be afraid and so we never left his side. He probably did not want to die. I don’t think he was ready because he always fought back with any life threatening condition he had and he did not want them to die. He was a great dad. My sister was especially close to him. We tried to do what was best but were not sure what that was as we received no guidance from the nurses or physicians. I still wonder if we did the right thing for him but now think that we did what we thought was best. And that was to sit by him continuously, holding his hand. When he finally died, it was so hard to believe that he was hone. We just held him and waited for a long time until we told the nurse. Then it seemed like he was gone and the body (his body) was no longer the place where he was. He seemed to be somewhere else and I did not have to be with his body to be with him. In fact, at the wake, I did not connect his body with the person he was. It was like just a symbol of him, but not really him so the wake was not difficult at all. Rather, what reminded me of him was, for example, music that we played. That brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how much I missed him. I can now write this and smile but for the first 5-7 years or so, it would have made me cry.

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