The past 14 months has been a time of transition with the deaths of my cousin Steve (NOV 2006) ; Steve’s father – my beloved Uncle John (FEB 2007), my hubby Bill’s sweet Uncle Jay (DEC 2007) and his Aunt Dot (AUG 2007), plus both parents of Bill’s high school friend (AUG 2007 & JAN 2008).
It’s inevitable. And sobering. In one way or another, it’s best to make peace with the process… None of us ‘get out of here alive.’ If you choose to be present for sincere emotions – your own and of others’ – there’s a gift of intimacy & immediacy of the moment that accompanies death’s stark honesty.
We’re preparing ourselves for the loss of our own parents…and one another. And processing our current losses in a variety of ways. One of which is to use essential oils for emotional support.
Bill’s friend called mid-afternoon 2-1/2 days ago, about 12hrs in advance of his mother’s death, asking Bill to come keep him company during the grief-laden wait for the inevitable. I suggested Bill take some Young Living Essential Oil blends that soothe emotions and assist with letting-go. Since his friend is not an oils user and is skeptical of non-MD sanctioned health options, I selected blends that are popular with oils newbies or that Bill might want to use for himself.
~ Acceptance™ stimulates the mind with essential oils specially blended to promote feelings of accepting ourselves and others, regardless of perceived barriers. This blend also helps overcome procrastination and denial.
Ingredients: Rosewood, almond oil base, geranium, frankincense, blue tansy, sandalwood and neroli.
~ Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) is a pure conifer essential oil distilled in northern Idaho that has a refreshing, encouraging, uplifting scent. It has a soothing effect on muscles and nerves.
~ Sacred Mountain™ promotes feelings of strength, empowerment, grounding, and protection that are a result of being close to nature. This blend of conifer essential oils, including spruce, fir, and cedarwood, evokes the feelings of sanctity found in the mountains.
Ingredients: Spruce (Picea mariana), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), fir (Abies alba) and cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica).
~Valor® is an empowering combination of therapeutic-grade essential oils that works with both the physical and spiritual aspects of the body to increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity. Renowned for its strengthening qualities, Valor enhances an individual’s internal resources.
Ingredients: Spruce (Picea mariana), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) and frankincense (Boswellia carteri) in a base of almond oil.
There are many other single essential oils & blends you could consider using that are helpful in death midwifery, depending on the purpose and intent:
~ Hyssop helps dry mucus and ease the breathing of a dying person.
~ Frankincense & Myrrh are traditional sacred oils of blessing used to clear the emotional atmosphere and instill peacefulness.
~ Forgiveness is a versatile essential oil blend that helps heal issues that may need forgiveness.
~ Release is an obvious essential oil blend choice for both the dying and survivors.
~ Trauma Life, a personal favorite of mine, may soothe grief & fear of death/dying.
There are other helpful issues to consider as one prepares for these transitions:
~ Build a network of loving family members & trusted friends. It’s well documented that survivors negotiate losses with minimal health consequences, if they have good emotional support, social contacts, hobbies & interests.
~ Locate on-going support groups guided by skilled counselors…for caregivers – if that’s your situation, or of peers suffering similar losses….participation may be helpful.
~ Organize financial, legal, and after-death papers to assist survivors with all the overwhelming details they will have to attend to.
An easy way to get started is to make sure all checking & savings accounts, IRAs, insurance policies, etc. have rights of survivorship beneficiaries noted. If you have personal property of value and/or real estate, antiques, an art collection, or sentimental treasures, you may want to consider creating a trust to protect your assets from probate taxes and a will to gift special items to recipients of your choice.
A wonderful guide to all these details as well as how to do family-centered funerals & memorials is “Final Passages” available from www.FinalPassages.org for the modest price of $45 +S/H.
And finally, consider donating the ‘Gift of Life’ as a last humanitarian gesture of generosity by making your organs available to extend others’ lives. Here in California, www.DonateLifeCalifornia.org has a great site to answer all your questions. If you live in another state, go to www.DonateLife.net
Some interesting facts from Donate-Life-California site may influence your decision:
~ Age, and most medical conditions, do not rule you out from being a suitable organ/tissue donor. There has been a 93-year-old kidney donor and a 99-year-old cornea donor!
~ As of September 2007, there were 19,000 California residents and more than 92,000 people in the USA waiting for an organ transplant.
~ Up to 8 lives can be saved by organ donation, and another 50 lives may be improved through tissue donation.
~ There is no cost to the organ / tissue donors’ family. All organ / tissue recovery costs are assumed by the recovery organization.
~ Organ & tissue donation does not limit options for an open-casket funeral or memorial service. The body is treated with great respect and returned to the family within 24-36hrs for final arrangements.
If organ/tissue donation is something you have been considering, you may read more FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) the sites listed above.