While I’ve been familiar with the term “nearing death awareness” it was not until I went to a recent NHPCO conference session on the topic that I decided I was going to try out using the term to educate families about their important person nearing end of life who starts packing, or for whom special visitors and guests appear.
I’ve been using the term and families are connecting with it, it makes sense to them. It’s a new way for me to “normalize” visitors and packing for a journey with care givers. I’ve not used the term with this patient, clinically it seems to me his mom is best to have that dialogue with him and is doing an amazing job of providing comfort. It seems too that she’s comforted knowing that he’s getting ready for the journey.
Our dialogue about nearing death awareness has also prompted her to talk with him about how he’s going to leave his body, she’s always seen him as flying. Not flying like an angel flies, but flying like a dragon rider flies, he agrees, he’s a dragon rider.
It seems to me that the term invites people from varied spiritual and cultural backgrounds to articulate and engage in dialogue about behavior and experiences that there are otherwise limited words for.
Give it a try if you’re already not using it. Let me know how it unfolds for you.
Thanks Dragon Rider for giving me the courage to try something new.
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
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