7 Steps of Living and Dying Healed

by Deborah Grassman

Opus Peace.org

Letting go of what is not ours to control can help us prepare for inevitable changes like death. In his book Dying Well, Ira Byock suggests five tasks that facilitate peacefulness. These include saying: “Forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “I love you,” “Thank you,” and “Good-bye.” Family members are also encouraged to complete the five tasks with their loved one. I have added two more steps: letting go and opening up. I do this because I believe the purpose of doing the five tasks is so people can let go of same and open up to different. This process is not just for dying either; it’s a process that can be applied to navigating any change or transition.

I have pamphlets, cards, and posters that list the 7 steps of living and dying healed. I coach dying people with the following dialogue: “Sometimes people think there’s nothing that can be done. It’s true that nothing more can be done for you physically, but there’s a lot that can be done for healing, for emotional wholeness. There are seven things that will help accomplish healing. All of us have done things to hurt one another. None of us are saints. Now is a time to reflect on people you may have hurt and consider asking for forgiveness. Think about those who have hurt you, and any hurts you may be holding onto. Consider letting them go, offering forgiveness. Think about whom in your circle of friends and family may benefit from an expression of your love. Think about those people who have impacted your life who might benefit from an expression of gratitude for having touched your life. The next thing is the hardest, but probably the most important, and that is to say goodbye. Say goodbye to all those that you love and want to hold onto. Say goodbye to this world and everything in it and open up to the next world, however you conceive that world to be or not be. Say goodbye to all that’s been the same and get ready to say hello to all that is different. After you’ve done these five things, then your new job is to relax and let go. Open up to all that is new and different that is coming your way. If you are willing to do these things, you will be more peaceful. It’s a good way of living healed too. In fact, I practice this at the end of every day.”


Education. Compelling workshops presented in unusual and engaging ways on intriguing topics: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Aging, Personal Healing, Veteran issues, Self-Care, Chronic Illness, End-of-Life care, Spiritual Growth, PTSD, Forgiveness, Good Grief.

Low-cost Retreats. 1, 2, or 3-day retreats in your city or ours (Tampa). Topics include: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Personal Growth and Healing, Forgiveness, Aging.

Soul Restoration Ceremonial Workshops. Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. Disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain contributes to loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop will provide a restorative experience for your staff or your patients’ families.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops. We will help your community organize, plan, and implement a ceremony for combat veterans which helps them lay down any burdens of unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt they may still be carrying. The gaping hole in our society from the aftermath of war can be healed!

Book Circles for Personal Growth.Utilizing the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, we will help you grow small communities of people who want to cultivate pervasive personal peace.

Book Circles for Veterans. Utilizing the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, you can become an agent of healing for our nation’s heroes by hosting a book circle for veterans and their families.

Free web-based Materials, Tools, Resources, and Blogs.

We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen