For The Critically Ill
For The Dying
Universal Offering for Those Facing End-of-Life
I offer this as a humble gift of a virtual kind of coming together… a blessing for the loved one who is about to leave and for those left behind.
The spiritual teacher, Ram Dass suggests:
“We’re all going to the same place, and we’re all on a path. Sometimes our paths converge. Sometimes they separate, and we can hardly see each other, much less hear each other. But on the good days, we’re walking on the same path, close together, and we’re walking each other home.”
My hope is that as feeble as this modality might be, this may be one of those days when our paths are converging—that we might have an experience “of walking each other home.” If only virtually and if only for this moment. I offer this blessing, this ritual of goodbye.
I invite you to perhaps close your eyes wherever it is that you find yourself right now and take a few nice deep breaths with me– simply following the empty breath. As we breathe, we exhale deeply and we just let go in this moment of all that we cannot know, the questions we cannot answer, the problems we cannot fix, the deep sorrow we cannot erase… and we breathe into a place beneath all of that. In that place, there is calm. Life is as it needs to be. The place where we are connected to one another, to nature, to the source of life itself. In that place, beyond our physical limitations, we are also so deeply connected to our loved one who is about to move on from this form, from this plane of existence.
In that place can we also remember that the flame of our loved one’s spirit burns just as bright right now, in this moment, as it did the day they were born—no matter what it looks like on the outside. That flame cannot be extinguished by a physical body that has outlived its usefulness. In this moment we remember the truth of who they are, that essence– and we fan that flame of spirit with our love so that it continues to burn bright… illuminating and guiding the path ahead.
In your mind’s eye, I invite you right now– to imagine your loved one— to get an image of your loved one at their healthiest, as their best self, in the very prime of life… perhaps engaging in an activity you enjoyed together or in a setting they loved or perhaps just sitting in nature—enjoying the wonder of life. What was their favorite place to be—see them there now. See it clearly, what might they be wearing? What kind of day is it? Or evening? Are there others around, or just you two? In that place, I’d like you to imagine sitting across from them, just looking at each other, enjoying the setting… there is no need for words here. At the level of the heart let them know right now what they have meant to you—thank them. And let them extend their gratitude to you, allow them to thank you for what you have been to them. Let that in. If there are regrets you carry, an old hurt or sleight, something you’d like them to forgive you for, ask for that forgiveness now—“please, forgive me.” And now, allow them to ask you in return, “please forgive me.” And if there is anything left unsaid between you, at the level of the heart, say it now, until there is nothing left to say. Just love. You might want to let them know something else that you know… “You did your best. You did a good job! I know that.”
There is only one more thing to say. Goodbye. In your mind’s eye, you might want to hug them, hold them, or— just as some folks may not feel so comfortable with goodbyes, you might simply just watch them walk away on their own path toward their own peace, their own understanding, their own answers… their own grace. Into a larger mystery perhaps. And we hold that image in our heart. That is the deeper truth of this reality.
In the name of all that we would call true, dear, and sacred, we let it be. Let there be peace in our hearts. We are not alone. We rest in love. May it be so. Amen.