Let me tell you a story of an end-of-life coach and her work with a dying woman and her family.
Ginny was thirty-six and recently diagnosed with stage four stomach Cancer. She felt anxious and helplessness in the face of her death. Anxiety over her impending departure from this life was robbing Ginny of quality living in the short time she had left.
Cheryl, Ginny’s closest friend, recently read an article about end-of-life coaches. She discovered there were professionals who are trained to provide physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional support to dying patients and their families. Cheryl suggested this avenue for Ginny to help her ease her transition out of this life while supporting her family and those who cared about her.
Ginny thought about Cheryl’s suggestion and decided an end-of-life coach would indeed be helpful. Ginny’s husband, Bob, was at first resistant to the idea. Who wants a stranger present while your loved one is dying? It’s a sacred time. But after much discussion, Bob decided to honor Ginny’s wishes. He Googled “end-of-life coach.” To his surprise the search turned up an end-of-life coach in their area. Her name was Mary.
Bob contacted Mary who agreed to come and sit with Ginny and her family to discuss their needs. End-of-life coaches often do not charge for an initial consultation.
Mary went to Ginny’s apartment where she met with Ginny, Bob, and their sixteen-year-old son, Michael. At first, Ginny and Bob resisted the idea of having Michael involved in conversations about Ginny’s death. But Mary gently reminded them that Ginny’s death was a part of Michael’s life too and he needed to be a part of the conversation.
During their first meeting, Mary asked Ginny to describe the medical challenges she was facing in addition to allowing her to begin to talk about her feelings.
Mary asked Ginny what she needed at this time. And then asked her what she was hoping to gain by working with her.
Mary explained that people who utilize an end-of-life coach often experience reduced pain, discomfort and fear as well as an increased sense of peace and well-being during the dying process.
Ginny breathed a sigh and expressed a sense of relief that there would be support for her and the people who cared about her.
In the next post we’ll discuss Mary’s approach.