➣ 7 Steps of Living and Dying Healed
by Deborah Grassman
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.”