When a loved one is dying, there are many roles to be filled.
The first is of the person who is dying. Their role is set. It is mostly certain. It is not an easy role, and it is a role each one of us will play one day. Each one of us.
There is the caregiver role. Hopefully there are qualified, compassionate, and loving caregivers for whom this role is a true calling, because it is a special and vital role. They ease the pain, they monitor life, and they work to make the transition as best as it can be.
The role of the loved ones. Oh, the loved ones. Their role at this time is to love. To be present. To laugh, and to cry. To hold on to memories, and never forget. To tell every story, relive the moments, and to listen and truly hear. Loving their someone in it and through it. Loving each other in it and through it.
Finally, there are those who wait. This is such an important role. It is not an easy role. There are those who wait from afar because they cannot be physically present. There are those who wait with and for their friends who are the loved ones. There may be degrees of separation between those who wait and the one who is dying, and those degrees of separation do not matter, it is the waiting that matters. Those who wait hold up the others who are nearer; we hold them up so they can live into their roles fully and completely.
There is great presence in the role of waiting. There is time of intentional sitting, watching, and waiting. There is praying, thinking, sending love into the air and knowing it lands where it is needed most, there is loving from a distance. These are so very important in this time.
If we are fortunate, we will play these roles countless times in our lives, for those we love. They are not easy roles. There are no award shows for these roles. These roles are the gift of loving and being loved.
After all, “We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass