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I have a favorite client at the moment who greatly humbles me. I am seeing this client on a weekly basis, and he is diagnosed with a disease for which there is no cure. I'll be seeing him until the disease takes him.
He remains a positive spirit and will often turn the conversation to me and what I'm doing in my practice, my joys and frustrations. But one time we were talking about him and he shared how he was losing so much and was unable to do much for himself, but that he could do one thing, "I can be a good example for my kids on how to die well". He was not being morbid so much as focusing on what he had left to do that could be a benefit in a very difficult situation.
I've been able to keep my feelings detached most of the time, but that moment brought a lump to my throat. I felt a great deal of both love and sadness for this man. In all of this he continues to think more of others than of himself.
I hope that I can learn from his example when it is my time.
NOTE from Barbara Helynn:
Thank you James for sharing this story. I am reminded by your story that whatever difficulties I have, I also have the choice to both live well and to die well. Sometimes I experience mini deaths as people, places and activities pass out of my life. May we all let go with grace.
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