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Mindful : June 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE In the following piece, adapted from Frank Ostaseski’s book The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, he shares some of his experiences from the decades he has been working with dying people and those who are dealing with the death of loved ones. On a reg ular basis, Frank has gone courageously to places of deep pain and suffering few of us ever have to go to. As you are about to read this account, it might help you to know that it is deeply affecting, and yet also uplifting, to hear firsthand about people going through the hardest experiences of their lives. Most of the people I have worked with over the past 30 years were ordinary people who were coming face-to-face with what they imagined was impossible or unbearable, walking toward their own deaths or caring for someone they loved who was now dying. Yet most found within them- selves and the experience of dying the resources, insight, strength, courage, and compassion to meet the impossible in extraordinary ways. No two people or stories were exactly alike. Some of the people I’ve worked with had a deep faith that carried them through difficult times, while others had sworn off religion. Some wore the face of resignation or were angry about their loss of control. Many had lost all trust in human- ity. Nguyen feared ghosts. Isaiah was comforted by “visits” from his dead mother. There was a → June 2017 mindful 73