“Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.”
How to Help:
Many people dealing with end of life issues, given a few months to live, often are overwhelmed with what to do each day. Before, they were able to do, or not do things with ease and guilt free. Now there is added pressure of making the most of it. Some people may not feel well enough to meet their expectations. Try picking one thing each day, something meaningful to you or your loved one, that she or he is able to do.
Your clients, friends or family may not be scared of death itself, but more about the pain that comes with it. Have a plan. What will happen after you or your loved one passes? Have you written a letter to your children? What do you want after you are gone?
That brings us to think about the question we think we know. Why are we sad when someone dies?
Is it because we think they were in pain? We don’t know where they are now? Their life was cut to short? Is it because we miss them? We miss their physical presence and their laughter, their humor and their smile? Their warmth?
Working day in and day out with people affected by cancer, I am saddened by the cruelty of this illness. It knows no age, color or social status.
Share your loss, your sadness, and your love. Find someone objective to talk to, a listening ear. But remember, even as time goes by: “Better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad.”