The Dying Process

Q:  Our Centering Prayer group has been watching the Gift of Life DVD and benefiting by it. We are hearing about persons who spend considerable time in the dying process. Can Contemplative Outreach say anything about those who die suddenly or in a short period of time. For what it is worth, I‚Äôve often had an intuition that the people who die suddenly somehow know subconsciously that it will happen.

A:  I am pleased that the prayer group is benefitting from watching the Gift of Life Series.  It was a powerful experience for me working with Fr. Thomas on this project. Let me answer your questions in two different ways. You asked about those who die quickly or in a short time period. I believe if they have been living a life centered on God, or at least not centered on themselves, their approach to death has preparation, even if it is sudden, because of the spirit of detachment that was part of their ordinary living. They have been preparing for the grand letting go by the way they lived their lives. Death was just the next step.

You also asked about an intuition that people who die suddenly somehow know subconsciously that it is coming. There are many stories that can support your intuition. I remember my mom always saying “People should have the sense to die before they reach 90.” I would say to her, “Let me ask the CO community to pray for this special intention.”  She would respond ‚ÄúMind your own business.‚Äù  She died suddenly at 89. All I could think was, ‚ÄúMom you are unbelievable!‚Äù  Another person resisted being moved to a different care facility.  His reason: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to die next month.‚Äù  And he did.  Life is a full journey and death is a stop along the way.  We are always in the process of dying. Blessings, Fr. Carl.