Permission to Live

fall-leavesIn hospice care, it is understood that the patient is going to die. There is time to think, to reconcile, to say goodbye. For the patient, there is time to worry, to wonder if their family will be okay without them. They can actually hold on to life, for a time, with these thoughts. Though death waits, they cling to life.

In hospice work, the most important guidance we gave a family member was to give their loved one permission to die. Release them from the responsibilities of this life by telling them it was okay to go; a hard thing to do, but necessary. As a family member gave their loved one permission to die, without realizing it, they gave themselves permission to live.


4 responses to “Permission to Live

  1. Thank God for that which is hospice. It is such a beautiful way. Helping so many through uncharted waters. Bless you for your specialized care and comfort.

  2. Yes Bonnie, your words are very true. A friend had terminal cancer and the hospice nurse very lovingly told his wife that she needed to whisper to him that it was OK for him to go. He was holding on for his family, in pain and in a coma. A few hours after she had whispered his message, he passed. Richard words are also beautifully said.

  3. I’ve found this true in my 28 years as a pastor. Friends and family are thinking mostly of their own loss and don’t want to give their dying loved one “permission” to die. The loved one feels it necessary to hang on as long as possible for the benefit of the family and friends. This often only extends the suffering for everyone involved.

    I had an elderly widow and widower in one of my churches. Charles and Edna married when he was 92 and she was 89. They had about 4 wonderful years together. Then as Charles lay in the hospital in pain, Edna made him promise to “stay with her” until the first day of the month and his Social Security increased. He was in excruciating pain and eventually lapsed into a coma. Then, on the first of November, at precisely 1 minute after midnight, Charles died.

  4. Beautifully well said.

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