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Caregiver Training Blog

Forgiveness at the End of Life: A Timely Forgiveness

Give ForgivenessA good friend who is a hospice chaplain has shared how difficult it is to be at the bedside of someone who is at the end of their life and to have the family in complete isolation from one another. We’ve all heard the stories of siblings, parents, partners or others bickering and inflicting blame on one another due to past disagreements regarding relationships, finances, property or any number of reasons. What the chaplain finds most disconcerting is the lack of regard for the person approaching death, and the inability to allow for forgiveness especially at a time when there should be a softening of the heart. Unfortunately many times emotions and memories are often choked by the struggles and resentments of the past.

When dealing with end-of-life care for a loved one and also dealing with numerous unresolved families issue the old resentments can inflame the already stressful situation. Finding ways to put aside differences and work together as a team for the best interest of elderly loved ones takes a great deal of effort, but many of these challenges can be overcome keeping in mind that the end results in assuring their loved ones last moments are peaceful and not marred with strife.

The following quote by Miguel Angel Ruiz reminds us that in holding on to grudges we not only punish others, we punish ourselves by not letting go.

"We punish other people for the same mistake a thousand times. Every time it comes in your memory, you judge them again and punish them again."

Anger can be time-consuming and exhausting, but letting go of the anger may be difficult especially when pride gets in the way. In an article I recently read on Marc and Angel Hack Life, Practical Tips for Productive Living, I found a great list of the 10 Reasons to Forgive the Person You Hate the Most.

1.  Forgiveness allows us to take responsibility for our own happiness.

2.  Forgiveness allows us to see everyone in our lives as a teacher.

3.  Forgiveness helps us stop playing the victim card.

4.  Forgiveness makes us aware that most people are doing the best they can.

5.  Forgiveness embodies the concept of “what goes around comes around.”

6.  Forgiveness forces our own level of consciousness to expand.

7.  Forgiveness teaches us to keep our expectations tempered.

8.  Forgiveness teaches us to tone down our instincts for self-preservation.

9.  Forgiveness creates a space to let go and love.

10.  Forgiveness is the best revenge.

Forgiveness at the end of life can be a lasting gift for all involved.

mmLearn.org provides over 300+ FREE online videos to support caregivers of older adults including videos on Family Dynamics, How to be with Someone who is Dying; and Caring for a Hateful Patient.