Julie Saeger Nierenberg

Daddy, This Is It. Being-with My Dying Dad

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My father lived an inspiring End of Life, a journey of courage, sorrow, wonder and assurances of Eternal Love. And before he passed, he encouraged me to share the story of his transition with you.
Learning he had metastatic cancer, Dad faced that fact by choosing to live fully for the rest of his days. When cancer treatments beat him down, he rallied by setting small physical goals and systematically beating them. Time and again, his doctors preserved the human body where the tumors grew with new methods of treatment, until there was nothing more they could do to prevent the inevitable.
When he heard there were no more medical options, Dad was shocked. He didn't feel like dying. He felt full of life and longing to live. He was angry and sad, disappointed and confused, scared and brave, unaccepting and, finally, accepting. With courage and amazing grace, he lovingly prepared our family for his passing. As our time together came to an end, I was grateful to be present.
Although death is an inevitable part of life, how we choose to be-with the dying and the bereaved is up to us. I encourage you to prepare and to embrace the possibility of a lovingly supported transition and, to that end, include some resources that may help you. Being ready to be-with is a wonderful way to live.
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