I've spent the last two days in extensive, intensive hospice training. Even though I've been doing hospice work for over a year now, in addition to having personal experiences with hospice care, this time to "step back" was invaluable.
One of the most difficult assignments was an exercise called "The Last Letter". I thought this exercise was about writing a letter to a loved one that was dying. I have done this before, so I thought I would just pull from that experience and be okay. I was wrong. It was an exercise in putting ourselves in the role of the dying person. It was ME writing MY last letter to my loved ones. When I put the words "Dear Family" on the paper, I reached for the kleenex.
My time here with you physically is running out. I thank you for being here for me, with me. Although my body is weak and my mind is numb, my heart remains full of love for you. I have always loved you even and especially during difficult and trying times. Honestly, I am afraid of being forgotten. I pray you keep our special times close to your hearts and my memory alive as you go through life. Forgive me for all my humanly transgressions. Forgive yourselves as well. There is no point in harboring any real or imagined past wrongs. While I let go of this physical world, keep love in your heart for all of us. To my children, Marisa and Tony, I love you and I will miss you. To my husband, Danny, I love you and I will miss you. Mom"
Three important things to be said at end-of life: 1) I forgive you; 2) Do you forgive me; and, 3) I love you. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? What are you waiting for?