Team BlogsA-Few-Words-on-Living-Well-to-Die-Well

“Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful, but to appreciate this precious lifetime.”

Dalai Lama


Do you feel prepared for your own death? Do you feel equipped to calmly and kindly support loved ones through their final weeks to their death? What is your attitude to the word ‘death’? Do you use euphemisms, such as ‘passed’, ‘succumbed’ or ‘departed’?

Many people feel that death is a morbid topic, or that by talking about it we may be tempting fate. It is a subject that is often thought of as taboo.

If you find this topic uncomfortable, then this is usual in our culture, where even health care professionals taking care of seriously ill and dying people struggle to use words such as ‘death’ and ‘dying’. The evidence around leading a good death strongly suggests that consistent, clear, and open conversations between the dying person, their friends, families, and health care workers about death and dying lead to the best outcomes. The best outcomes, not just for the person who is dying, but also the friends, families and health care workers left behind. But how do we do this?

Our living well to die well course provides a space where course participants feel safe to share their lived experience of death, for example the death of a loved one or their own near-death experiences or experiences of ongoing or survived terminal diagnoses. I have found that hearing from others, speaking my own experiences and being heard openheartedly, has been a profoundly healing process. A process which has melted any remaining fear of death into a wish to be of benefit to those around me who are dying.

Recognising the inevitability of my own death, by seeing how it touches everyone’s life, has given me the courage to live with reference to my own wisdom, regardless of what those around me do, think or believe. I trust myself more.

Recognising the wisdom that how we live informs how we die, during our Living Well to Die Well course we actively create the conditions, through the practice of specific mindfulness, compassion, and joy meditations, to live each moment as well as we can. We explore living well, loving well, and learning to let go.

During our Living Well to Die Well course I have been able to explore the main regrets of those who are dying and how this relates to my own life and regrets. I have been able to tap into a deep inner wisdom which guides me into living without regret and redressing any past regret as soon as I can.

During our lives we are likely to experience the death of loved ones. This course helped me to prepare to support my two beloved dogs, through their last days with unconditional love and more courage and equanimity than would otherwise have been possible. This helped me to create the conditions for my dogs to die peacefully, in an atmosphere of love. It also helped me to support my fellow bereaved to create a peaceful space for those final moments.

While I miss my dogs and I know that they both had a very happy life, almost to the end. Also, that their end was one of peace and love. I was comforted by this quote from the Dalai Lama, which I often now share with those who are bereaved:

“Grief is the reminder of the depth of our love. Without love, there is no grief.”

For more information on our Living Well to Die Well course, please click here. The course begins in July with an introductory weekend which you can attend as a stand-alone, with the choice to continue for the full year long course over 12 monthly online sessions.

Also, we have a short video (3 mins) from Jacky to tell you more about the course HERE, and there is a short guided practice from the course you can try here.



Heather Regan-Addis