One of the most popular questions on the End of Life Plan Form that I created under the Design Your Own Death side of my business has been “I would prefer not to have the following people present”. This has absolutely amazed me, but it brings up something that needs to be discussed…& it’s a really tricky & delicate topic to navigate.
There’s a couple of possibilities to consider here. It may be that the person on their end journey doesn’t wish to have anybody around (other than those essential to their care) or it could be that they just want a couple of people with them or they want a particular person/s excluded from visiting them. The tricky bit comes in communicating this.
There is another thing that needs to be considered here as well – the mental state of the person on their end journey. If they are experiencing dementia to any degree, having a change in their routine or a visit from someone they don’t wish to see or don’t remember can be truly distressing for them. This in turn can be very distressing for the person coming to see them. Sometimes, if a loved one expresses a request for someone to not visit the person on their end journey, this could very well be the reason why.
If a request is made, for whatever reason, that no visit to the person on their end journey be made, we need to stop for a moment & allow. I have experienced this & I won’t deny, that in the moment, it hurt like buggery!! My sister didn’t want anyone around her at the end of her journey. She wanted to be alone, save for those attending to her physical/medical needs. I wanted to be with her. I wanted to see her. I wanted to talk to her. As a family, we had been around my Dad when he died & I wanted the same experience with her. But that was where the problem was – it was all about what I wanted & not what she wanted. I was in ego. There was absolutely loving intent from my side, but I was not thinking about what she needed & wanted.
Nowadays, I can understand her position. For her, it was all about preparing herself spiritually & emotionally to leave her physical body & to do that she needed us not to be physically around her. It was not that she did not love us, this was just what she needed to do on this part of her journey.
And she got her wish. She died in her home with only her carer in her home. I did my own thing in my own way privately to say what I needed to say to her.
The nature of the experience of someone’s end journey HAS to be defined by them. Some might see that as selfish…that may be so, but if you can’t call the shots when you are dying, then when can you?
With love, peace & blessings, Sharon