I hope you don’t mind me sharing here my experience of keeping a company with a person dying.
My grandmother passed away on 4th June at the age of 93. She admitted to a hospital on the day I arrived in my hometown Tokyo 12 days before, after having stopped eating. During those days, I have witnessed how she was diminishing, and tried to hold the space and support her to process whatever she needed to process so that she could transition with ease.
My first visit was on day 4 for her in the hospital. She was already bedridden and almost non-verbal but I was still able to see some momentary expressions. As I treated her with my hands gently on her back, I felt quite powerful resentment that made me slightly dizzy. Now looking back, I feel this experience set my intention to support her to process any unhelpful left-over emotions so that she can transition light. I made three more visits after that until the last day.
On the last day, when my mother and I arrived, she looked very shrunk but calmer. She had been suffering from a breathing difficulty but now calmer. Through touch I felt no more kicks and pulls in the tissue but peaceful. Two hours later, a nurse rushed into the room as she had noticed her breathing stopped on the monitor. I placed my hand again behind her heart, and I was invited to the purest and very wide cellular breathing; expansion and contraction (CS rhythm in Craniosacral Therapy). She did a few little gasps, and then after the last one, the craniosacral system turned to subtler and wider (mid tide in CST). A moment later, a doctor came so I left her. He examined and announced her death. After they left, I went back to placing my hand on her back, where I still feel the warmth and mid tide same as just before the doctor came. It was very strange to hear she was dead while this energy was still in the body. I have heard before that Craniosacral system remains for a while after the heart stopped. I guess that’s what it is. But for a person who has been accompanying the transition, it did not make sense to have the definite point of death predominantly defined by the heart function. For me, my grandmother was still alive when the doctor announced her death, and still when we were asked to leave the room while the nurses clean and sort out her. I felt like a new born whose umbilical cord gets clamped while the placenta is still pulsing.
Anyway, after I sat for a while next to her with the face covered with a white handkerchief, I felt she was dead.
I feel very privileged to experience my grandmother’s dying process. This is a gift for me from her. I cannot stop thinking she has chosen the day to die, on the same date as her husband who died 54 years ago, and when I was there to support her.