As I Die

Grab a cuppa and a quiet 5 minutes. Or 10 if you want to reflect a little on my words. I closed my eyes and said these words to myself – “As I Die” and what followed is this.


As I Die

Don’t tiptoe around

or busy yourself with tidying.

Don’t fuss or stress.

No need to constantly

straighten my bed.

Bake bread and cakes

And waft the scent

around the house.

Bring your baking into my room.

And eat.

And allow yourself to enjoy it

as we enjoyed eating cake together.

Enjoy it for me.

Put on some music

although not too loud

of bands I enjoy.

My love of music does not diminish

because I am dying.

Feel free to sing along

and if you wish

to dance too.

Sit by me with your cup of tea

or drink of choice

and just be yourself.

Talk to me

as you always talk to me.

No need to be serious or solemn.

Share funny stories

of recent times.

We can still laugh

and giggle together

as we always have.

Tell me what is happening

with the weather outside.

A topic we laugh at

and take for granted.

Yet,

it is something I can’t access right now.

Can you describe

what you see outside

even if I too can see it?

Without attaching your opinion to it?

The description is all I need.

Go outside – just for a moment

Experience it first hand

Feel the weather on your face

In your hair and on your body and clothes.

Then come inside

and describe what it felt like

in as much detail as you can.

For I miss those simple things.

Put your warm hand in mine.

Hold it gently.

I can feel the love

transmitted from your heart to mine

through this tender touch

of your hand.

It’s ok to brush the stray hairs

away from my face.

The feel of your fingers on my face

is a reminder

of tender, loving times.

Allow your fingers

to linger there.

Soothing.

Comforting.

Ask me how I am.

Ask me what it’s like to be dying.

Don’t project your fear

of my death onto me.

Don’t tell me how scary

it must be.

Don’t tell me how awful it is

Or assume I’m sad.

That may be how it is for you

but I may be experiencing it

differently.

Just look into my face,

and into my eyes.

Explore what is there.

See beyond my illness,

beyond my frail body.

See the person

me

inside.

And ask

“What matters most to you right now?”

And say my name too

“What matters most to you right now ……..?”

Make it personal.

As my body is fading

help me feel human and real.

And listen.

Your ears and heart are perfect for this.

They were made for this very moment.

Listen.

Not with the intent to reply

to understand

or wonder why.

But simply to hear.

I have few words left.

My voice is weakening.

Just listen intently

as if each word was my last.

Let my words touch your eardrums

as if wishing to leave an imprint.

Drink it all in.

The tone.

The whispers.

The sighs.

The movement of my mouth.

Don’t be tempted to fill in the blanks

or finish my sentences.

Don’t tell me that my answer

to your question

is wrong or misjudged.

Don’t tell me that other things

should matter more.

Don’t turn my words

into something they are not.

You don’t have to understand

or agree with my response.

Just listen.

Don’t push

your own ideas of death

onto me.

Let me have my own beliefs.

Let me own this experience.

For it is mine.

I will never get another.

You will get to experience your own

in time.

Don’t be tempted to relay death

stories of loved ones or friends.

Don’t take this experience away from me

to make it yours.

Just walk alongside me.

Walk me home.

And, if my words

are not forthcoming

Just listen with your heart.

To the moment.

To each moment.

To my breath.

To any crackles in my throat.

To the worldly sounds

that share in this moment.

Don’t say “I’m sorry”

Instead say “I love you”

Say “Thank you”

Share joyful or tender memories.

Relay stories of our times together.

Tell me that it’s ok

for me to leave when I am ready.

Don’t beg me to stay.

The parting will be so much harder.

Tell me you will be ok.

Tell me that you will

all look after each other.

Tell me that I will be ok.

That it is safe to go.

That I can take your love for me

for support and guidance.

And that the love that I have shared

in my lifetime

will remain forever

in the lives I have touched.

And when my eyes are closed

look into my heart

with yours.

And feel what is there.

These precious beats

of my heart

that is getting tired,

slowing.

And

when my heart stops

know that our bond

will remain.

That it has no borders

or edges.

In those moments

when my last breath

has left my lungs

linger by my side a little longer

as I transition

from this life.

And,

if there is anything you wish to say

that you couldn’t say

whilst I was living

say it now.

For the part of me

that remains in your heart

will hear those words.

And you will notice

a tiny flutter in your heart.

That is me.

Nancy Nudds 03/12/21

Rather then being a reflection of my own wishes (there are elements of them in there too) I wanted it to provoke thought and conversation. To weave in subtle layers touching different angles dying and death might be experienced. From the perspective of the person diagnosed with a terminal or life-shortening illness to that of their loved one/s who are supporting them and all the people who might come into contact with someone at the end of life.

A guide.

A support.

What also transpired was that it is also comforting to those who have cared for their loved one, family or friend at the end of life including those working in a health care setting.

However this “As I Die” lands with you please take what you need from it.

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