I listened to this podcast for one of my college courses I am taking. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this podcast as it gave me a sense of relief or calm regarding dying.
Throughout the pod cast, Ira goes back to the statement "dying well", He explains this does not mean that you are well but rather you are content and accepting. To allow bygones to be bygones and accept the fact that death is part of life. He likes to consider death as a form of human development. From losing someone close, we experience many different things. From anger to sadness we learn to cope with the aftermath of losing a loved one. At the same time, the person who is experiencing death goes through the same emotions but can also die well. Ira brought up the notion that death has become more medicalized. We rely heavily on medicine to "save" us from the inevitable. (My words not his). He is all for medicine and helping save people's lives if possible but he also said that we need space between medicine and dying. A question that came to my mind was, can medicine get in the way of dying? Do we intentionally attempt to prolong one's life for the sake of not losing them?
The thing I found most interesting that Ira Byock brought up was what he called the four states of beings or four things that matter most. He best explained this using an example of being in an accident or nearly in an accident that should have taken life. You are more apt and open to picking up your phone and calling a loved one - the words easily come out and bring on a new meaning. The four states of being are: "Please forgive me", "I forgive you", "Thank you", and "I love you". The more I thought about these simple statements, the more I could see how they bring on a new meaning when faced with terminal illness or being on a death bed. You want to create a calm sense or peace; allow yourself to accept what is going on. At first I struggled with this. When someone dies suddenly you do not get a chance to say things you want to say or things that should have been said a long time ago. How do you cope with losing someone so suddenly? Do you ponder the should have, could have, would have? How do you get to tell them you love them or ask for their forgiveness? When it comes to someone who is able to prepare for death, you have the chance to speak these words. One of the last things Ira said in the interview was, "Listen to the inner life of people dying." He correlates this with the spiritual being. He speaks briefly of humans being simply beings lost in the black of space. We as humans seem to appear inherently spiritual as Ira states. If death is upon, take it with gratitude not with fear or anger. Death is something we cannot avoid. Although I am sure it is extremely scary and hard to imagine the fact that we should not be angry upon death but remember the good times in life and be grateful for the life you got a chance to live.
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