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Making Things Right



People need and want to die with a dear conscience, with a feeling that the burdens of this life are past, and with a knowledge that their final wishes will be granted. We have the opportunity to help make our loved ones' final days more peaceful. In that process, we bless our families and ourselves.

This article appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of Spirituality & Health. The Campbell family knows that their elderly father is about to die. When they are at the hospital with him, they sit around his bedside and wait. They believe there isn’t much more they can do. Their father drifts in and out of sleep. Sometimes he talks in his sleep, but they can’t seem to make much sense of what he says. The two brothers, always vying for their father’s approval, stare at each other suspiciously. Janet, the only daughter, just wants to make everything better, so she hovers nervously over her father, fluffing pillows and seeing if he will drink some more juice. Not much is said because no one knows what to say or do. Undercurrents surge everywhere. Mr. Campbell, if they were to listen to his broken words, wants to talk to his children. He knows he is dying and he needs to make things right. The boys know about his will and where all the important papers are. They know he wants to be buried next to his beloved wife. He put those matters in order years ago, because that is the sort of man he is. What needs to …

Megory Anderson is the author of Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life, ©2001 from Prima Publishing. A former Anglican nun, she has been on staff in numerous churches and teaches religion at the University of California, Berkeley.

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