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 205

I believe that actually dying may be similar to the many near death experiences that are documented. I believe for myself that my spirit will leave my body with my last breath. I think and hope I will be able to feel the love of my family that is still alive yet be surrounded by the love of those I anxiously await to be reunited with. ONce I read in a book that I was reading to help me cope with my father’s death that “the soul lives where it loved.” that line has stayed with me and I believe that my soul/spirit will live with those I love who may be alive and deceased. I imagine being the wind blowing through my daughter’s hair.

I have experienced the deaths of several close family members all at home with hospice care. The first and probably the one that had the greatest impact on me was that of my father. He had always been a stout, happy, easy going man. As he approached death he had withered so much although his barrel chested frame still remained. His face was drawn and complexion gray. As he exhaled for the last time it was a long drawn out breath. You could almost tell that it was the last molecule of oxygen leaving his body. His physical appearance began to change immediately, his mouth gaping open. My mother continued to attempt to get him to breath by opening and closing his mouth with her hands and instructing him to breath. I felt his spirit in the room and really saw his body as an empty shell. In my mind and heart I knew that he was no longer with his physical shell. He was free.

When I cared for my father-in-law in his home and hospice, he had throat caner, he had a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. He didn’t want either one. When he took his last breath it almost appeared to me that as he exhaled his spirit left his body. He too transformed before my eyes. Yet this transformation was very obvious that besides his spirit leaving, all the physical pain left also. He was at peace totally.

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