Are you facing a situation in which you are anticipating the death of your beloved? Perhaps it is due to an illness, or perhaps they are advanced in age. 

In my mind, possibly the most powerful thing we can do in confronting death is to acknowledge its reality and to say goodbye consciously while your beloved is still alive. This is hard. We do not want to appear that we are giving up hope for a turn-around, we want to believe that a miracle can happen. Perhaps it will...

In western societies death has become a stranger, happening in hospitals, happening suddenly, separated from those we love. There can often be a prolonged period of decline in which no one wants to mention the outlook. In olden times there was a more pragmatic view of this final chapter of all our lives. It wasn't hidden, often happening inside the home with an opportunity for friends and family to say goodbye. 

The impact that this can have on the grieving process is tremendous. We are allowed to say that which we wish we had, possibly "I love you" or "I forgive you". It is an opportunity to hear these things from our beloved and to learn of their wishes so that they are able to depart in peace. It is an opportunity to find support in fellow mourners who are also anticipating the departing.

There is another way to think of this whole topic. The Spirit Altars program was born from a program called "Living Altars". That program is about celebrating our lives in which participants create an altar to their own spirits. It is used as a chance to find appreciation and insight, possibly direction and inspiration. 

Within the Spirit Altars program, this approach is directed towards the one that has been lost, with other prompts. But if the subject of this attention is still alive, then the program is essentially the Living Altars with an awareness of what is instigating it- their likely impending death. 

So then the program offers a chance to come together around the one whose life we are celebrating, with their participation. They get the chance to tell their stories, to express themselves. They get the chance to receive love from those who care about them. The subtext may be that death appears imminent, but in the event that it  does not happen as predcited, then the celebration is still valid, the rallying and love-giving was still worthwhile and valuable.

If you are anticipating the death of someone you care about, I strongly encourage you to not avoid the potential. Engage the situation without illusion, say how you feel, share your stories. 

I wish you well in this journey.