Diane Goble, MS – Master Transition Coach

My Mission

My mission as a Transition Coach is to empower my clients to overcome fear of death and dying by providing them with the methods and resources to be in control of this profound transformational journey we all get to experience no matter what one’s physical or mental condition– by preparing long before the time comes and being in control when it does.

What is a Transition Coach?

A Transition Coach functions as a facilitator to empower the patient to take control of his or her own end-of-life decisions from terminal prognosis to transition and final disposition coaching the patient and caregiver to play an active and informed role in developing and carrying out a personalized end-of-life strategy.

What is Advance Care Planning?

End-of-life or advance care planning involves making decisions about one’s circumstances and the care we expect when we’re not able to speak or communicate our wishes ourselves, such as in the case of a stroke or heart attack, a sudden accident or near the end of a long life.

In these written documents, we appoint a healthcare representative we trust to carry out our wishes and include directions as to whether we want artificial hydration or feeding, if or how long we’d want to be on life support and what treatments we’d accept, including surgeries, procedures, treatments, blood transfusions, resuscitation– from do everything to do nothing.

It also includes one’s personal decisions your healthcare representative may have to advocate for you concerning how to pay for the health care and what to do after the death, such as organ donation, funeral and burial arrangements, writing our obituary, and many other details that come with wrapping up one’s life on earth.

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When Should I Consult a Transition Coach?

While there is never a good time to be told there is nothing more medical science can do for a person and no way to predict the course any illness will take, the sooner the patient and the family start talking about a plan and dealing with the what ifs, the less stress on all concerned, and the more peaceful and loving the entire process will be. The family may be at odds with the wishes of the patient or each other, sometimes old hurt feelings stir up arguments, and the Transition Coach will facilitate family discussions to bring about forgiveness and healing.

Even when there is one more clinical trial or one more new drug to try, the Coach will facilitate the family’s involvement in planning for palliative care, organizing caregivers, home health aides, in-home ADA adjustments through various health changes, and finding help from various agencies and services. With the help of the Transition Coach, time spent writing one’s Will and Advance Healthcare Directive, looking into assisted living arrangements and hospice services, thinking about memorial services, deciding on burial or cremation arrangements, discussing DNRs, POLSTs and Death With Dignity options, can  replace the worrying and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness about the patient’s medical issues and health concerns during this stressful time.

Does the Transition Coach Help the Caregivers?

The goal of the Transition Coach is to build a team of caregivers around the patient to support the patient’s journey. The primary caregiver may be the main contact person with the Transition Coach and the second question is always “and how are you doing?”

Caregiver burn-out is inevitable among loving people who want to do everything they can to keep their loved one comfortable, and free from pain and suffering. The Transition Coach will help the primary caregiver come up with a stress management plan that involves the family and all caregivers involved.

What is the Role of the Transition Coach?

The role of the Transition Coach is not to be a service broker or care manager, but rather, to provide support, guidance, resources, and spiritual comfort to the patient and caregiver(s) as they explore the workbook Beyond the Veil: Our journey home by Diane Goble. The Transition Coach may facilitate discussions between the patient and caregiver, and other family members to get everyone on the same page with decision-making or help clarify values and mediate belief differences when it comes to changes in health conditions and end of life decisions.

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What Action Can You Take Now?

It is suggested that interested parties first purchase a copy of the workbook Beyond the Veil: Our journey home which may be ordered here or from any online or onland bookstore. After reading through the workbook, if you and your family think you may be interested in working through it with a Transition Coach you’re invited to email Diane to request an appointment for a free half hour phone or Skype call to assess your needs and help you make a decision to proceed to the next step.

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What’s the Next Step?

If you decide you’d like to work with a Transition Coach, we’ll set up payment arrangements and book an appointment for a phone or Skype call. During that call, we’ll go through an initial needs assessment, which could take an hour or more, and result in a coaching plan.

For the coaching plan, some people prefer a weekly phone call, others want to be able to call when questions come up. There may be more frequent calls early on, then less need for a period, then greater need as the end nears. You can email a list of questions and we’ll discuss them during phone calls. You can text if it’s a short, quick question or emergency. Every case is different and Diane is flexible… Email

BIO

Diane Goble, MSCC, CCHt

Master Transition Coach

 

Diane Goble has a Master’s Degree in Psychology (CSULB, 1983) and another in Clinical Hypnotherapy (St. John’s U, 1992). Over the years she has taught stress management, had a practice in hypnotherapy and past life regression therapy, became an ordained spiritual minister, meditation teacher, and was a hospice volunteer off and on for over 25 years in Florida, California and Oregon. She is the author of Beyond the Veil: Our journey home, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Cosmic Consciousness, Reincarnation and the Evolution of Consciousness, Sitting in the Lotus Blossom and the website BeyondtheVeil.net (1996-2018).

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In 1971, at age 30, Diane drowned while white water rafting and had an extensive near-death experience, which is what changed her life path and led her to return to education and eventually to explore the field of death and dying. She is the author of Beyond the Veil: Our journey home, which is based on an online course she developed in 2007 to train Transition Guides (Death Doulas, Spiritual Midwives) to empower terminally ill patients to take control of their own end of life planning. You can read her extraordinary journey into the afterlife in the book.  After training a number of practitioners from around the world, she turned that training course into a workbook, which patients and caregivers could use together for advance planning and learning the Art of Conscious Dying… being aware of and involved in one’s personal transformational journey home.

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The message I was given to share with those whose lives I touch is that WE don’t die! Only our physical form expires while the essence of who we are is released and returns home in full consciousness– an exhilarating Aha! moment of understanding everything while being filled with overwhelming love, peace and joy… finally remembering who we really are and what the heck this lifetime on planet Earth was all about… being greeted by our loved ones who have gone on before us, and the realization that we are returning home to the Source of our being– from whence we came.

I don’t just base this on my own experience. I’ve been reading other experiences and participating in and following the literature concerning the research into the survival of consciousness after death for decades. These experiences are not hallucinations or delusions or wishful thinking… and I believe so many are surfacing now because it’s time for humanity to collectively wake up and realize there is  more to “life and death” than we’ve been led to believe and a higher purpose for humans to exist and maintain this planet for that purpose.

My story of transformation is in Chapter 10 of The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences: How the Messages of NDEs Positively Impact the World by Dr. Penny Sartori and Kelly Walsh…

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My coaching is non-denominational yet adaptable to any belief system or none. I respect all religions and beliefs for their intrinsic beauty and compassion but do not hold one over another. In the Light I found only Universal Love at the Source.  My mission as a Transition Coach is to empower my client families with the resources and tools to assist them in carrying out their personal last wishes and final arrangements for a peaceful conscious dying experience based on their own values and beliefs.

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If Beyond the Veil: Our journey home resonates with you and your beliefs, feel free to use all the resources it contains. If you feel you and your family could benefit from having the Transition Coach who wrote the book on it available to help you and your family work through the difficult parts, schedule a free half-hour phone or Skype conversation with Diane to assess your needs… email

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If, after your initial conversation, you decide you and your family would feel comfortable working with a Transition Coach, we’ll book an appointment for a phone or Skype call and set up initial payment arrangements through PayPal. During the call, we’ll go through an initial assessment of your needs, which could take about an hour, and develop a Coaching Plan.

  • For the Coaching Plan, some clients prefer a scheduled weekly phone call; others want to be able to call when questions come up
  • There may be more frequent calls early on, then less need for a period, then greater need as health changes
  • It is up to the client to end the phone session. There is a 30 minute minimum (except for pre-paid plans) and two hours is the upper limit
  • If Client has a time limit, please say so at beginning of call. The Coach may do the same
  • Clients may email a list of questions ahead to be discussed during phone calls to save explanation time
  • Clients may text if it’s a short, quick question or emergency and Diane will respond as quickly as possible (no charge)

Fee Schedule

  • Diane only works with a limited number of clients at a time and for many families the duration may extend over six months or longer so there may be a waiting list at times.
  • Diane is available every day between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm PST for phone or Skype calls by appointment only, and will respond to texts and emails as soon as possible
  • New clients are charged $25 to book initial appointment and create client file
  • Ongoing clients may book appointment times with 24 hours notice
  • For cancellations, please give 24 hours notice
  • Time begins at connection and stops when client requests end of conversation
  • Diane will keep a timer and it is suggested client do as well to keep track of how much time passes
  • Coaching time is billed at $1.00 per minute
  • Pre-paid packages for 3 hours, 5 hours and 10 hours are available
  • Internet research and transmittal @$25 per hour (payable prior to transmittal)

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16th…

for the month of April 2018

 10% off on pre-paid hours for new clients

who book their 1st contact during the month of April

  3 hours $180 = $162

  5 hours $300 = $270

10 hours $600 = $540

Enter appropriate payment amount thru PayPal

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Photo by Cat Connor

CONTACT

Diane Goble, Master Transition Coach

Email

Website

Facebook Page: Death and other taboo topics

Facebook Group: Having The Conversation about Dying and Death

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Physician-assisted suicide addressed in new book by Near-Death Experiencer

Beyond the Veil

Our Journey Home

by Diane Goble

We’re all going to die some day so–

  • shouldn’t we all be looking into this event instead of living in denial and pretending it only happens to other people?

  • shouldn’t we at least have some tools available to us so when it does, however it does, we’re prepared and know what to do next?

  • shouldn’t we prepare ourselves to take care of and comfort a loved one who is terribly ill or elderly and facing their own death?

That’s what I thought when I first began writing this book, which is what I was asked to do when I decided to come back into my body during my near-death experience while drowning during a white water river rafting accident in 1971.

Voilà!

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 The answers to all those questions you have about death, dying and what comes next are between these covers.

The paperback, published by Cosmic Creativity, is now available on amazon.com and at most major book retailers.

Posting reviews or sharing your thoughts about Beyond the Veil on retailer websites, like amazon.com, may contribute to the evolution of human consciousness and are much appreciated by all those who contributed to the publication of this valuable book.


… a way for individuals to consciously prepare for what’s to come, and to better understand the life in their death, and what happens next. Anyone can benefit from this book, so keep it handy. You may use it more often than you think.

~ P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., researcher and author of Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story and We Live Forever: The Real Truth About Death

There is no easy way to bring up the conversation of death but Goble’s book shows us why this is one of the most important discussions that we can have.

~ Josie Varga, author of Visits from Heaven and Visits to Heaven

Ultimately learning how to be fully present and conscious for the one who is passing is one of the greatest gifts you can offer someone you love.

~ JoAnn Chambers, Vibrational Sound Healer and co-author of The Sonic Keys: Sound, Light & Frequency; DNA Activation, and The Secret of Abundance


This is a conversation you must have with yourself…

and probably should have with all family members–

not that you need to have all the answers right now, but just to get you started thinking about these important questions before it’s necessary to know the answers so there won’t be any family disagreements in the heat of a crisis. We all need to have these conversations about the end of our lives and what we do want and don’t want as far as treatment options, including invasive procedures, aggressive therapies, prescription drugs, palliative care, hospice,  and when and where we choose to die, depending on the circumstances and based on our own values, traditions and beliefs. Ideally we need to review our choices every 5 years as we get older, if we have health changes, lifestyle changes, because we often make different decisions as our age and circumstances change. We need to think about situations like–

If your heart stopped right now, what is your family’s plan?

Does anyone know where your important papers, passwords, contacts, valuables are kept and what you want done with them and who to contact after you’re gone?

If your persistent headaches led to a diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor and a diagnosis of 6 months or less to live, would you consider the Death with Dignity option (do you know if it’s available in your state/country, what the requirements are)?

Are you aware that your Emergency Contact is not necessarily your Healthcare Representative unless that person is also designated in your Advance Healthcare Directive/Living Will?

If your spouse had a sudden illness requiring hospitalization, what things would you have to do that you wouldn’t ordinarily do? What if the person had been in an accident and was in a coma?

Do you really know what it means if you say do everything to save me?

Knowing that at some point you will die, how do you hope your death will be? Have you told anyone? Have you contemplated your own death?

Have you considered how you would manage becoming a full-time caregiver for a severely ill child or an elderly parent?

If you are entering your dying process, have you reconciled your life and found peace of mind or do you fear what lies ahead?


Beyond the Veil: Our Journey Home

was written by Diane Goble, a near-death experiencer who became a spiritual teacher, based on what she learned during her journey home and was asked to bring back to share with as many people as she could.
Her primary message is– We Don’t Die!
Her book is a resource manual, chock full of information about the options that are available to us as we are preparing ourselves for transition or being a caregiver for someone who is in the dying process.
It is a training manual based on the author’s professional course to teach caregivers to be Transition Guides for their dying loved ones or patients.
It is a personal workbook with plenty of Notes pages for those soon departing as they are guided through the practice of the Art of Conscious Dying and writing their own Personal Transition Guidebook.
It is printed in large type.

For those of you who need more, go to BeyondtheVeil.net. Diane will be offering classes and webinars with special guests, and private consultations about end-of-life issues and conversations in the near future. If you would like to receive updates, fill out the following form:

Death with Dignity laws

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The recent death of a 29-year old woman who chose to use the Death with Dignity law in Oregon has invigorated the debate about our right to make choices about our healthcare at the end of our life. Brittany Maynard had a brain tumor that doctors said would end her life in a most undignified manner and she chose not to experience that part of her illness. She completed her Bucket List and enjoyed the last quality time she could with her husband and parents, and died peacefully at the time of her choosing at home in her own bed surrounded by those who loved her.

If you are facing such a decision, whether you are thinking about the Death with Dignity option or not, this book by a Near-Death Experiencer, will help you find acceptance and peace of mind as you navigate medical decisions, care options including palliative and hospice services, conversations with family and providers, filling out Advance Healthcare Directives and making decisions about how your want to die.

Beyond the Veil is for caregivers who will be transition guides for their loved ones, for families to help them have the necessary conversations, and for the dying person who wants desperately to know what is happening to them along their journey home.

Excerpt from Beyond the Veil: our journey home by Diane Goble about Death with Dignity laws:

Reasonable laws can prevent abuse while honoring self-respect, human dignity and compassion. Just as an obstetrician might administer a drug to hasten a birth, a doctor may prescribe a drug that will hasten not death but the rebirth of our spiritual nature. Prepared ahead of time and guided by a transition guide’s voice reading one’s Personal Transition Guidebook, it is a peaceful journey home beyond the veil.

Some people believe it is a slippery slope to allow this at all. They are afraid mentally or physically disabled or senile elderly people will be murdered for convenience. Perhaps in some societies where human life isn’t valued that could be true. It is up to those who believe in death with dignity to make sure laws are in place to prevent forced euthanasia by designating medical professionals and safe procedures to provide humane, compassionate assistance to those who decide of their own free will to exercise this option.

A May 2005 Galllup Poll indicated that 75% of Americans support “euthanasia” for certain patients but only 58% support “doctor-assisted suicide” for the same patients. Use of the term “suicide” was the only difference in the question asked. The Gallup Poll conclusion was that the use of the word caused the apparent conflict in values.

Opponents count on the negative emotional impact of the term. Calling it “suicide” or “murder” conjures up images that clash with religious beliefs and humanitarian values, but have nothing to do with personal choice at the end of life.

This is what Dr. Jack Kervorkian fought for–a patient’s right to choose and the physician’s role at end of life. It’s nobody’s business except the person who is dying, his physician and his family members (and sometimes not the latter). It’s continuing care through the end of life.

Instead of physicians abandoning their patients at the end of their invasive medical treatment options, they could stay with them to provide the medication that will quickly end their suffering if that is their patient’s final request.

Their Hippocratic oath says, firstly, do no harm, but if forcing a person to stay alive while their body  progressively deteriorates for years, whether physically or mentally, isn’t doing harm, I don’t know what is. Seems to me physicians need a better understanding of compassion. Continuing to swear an oath to Greek gods is out of touch with contemporary reality–the earth is not flat and doctors are not gods.

Planning Your Assisted-Suicide

I live in Oregon so I can legally request the

Death With Dignity option

at the time I deem appropriate if I choose, so I’ve thought about what medical treatments and interventions I would or wouldn’t accept and how I would want to die if this or that happens to my body and/or mind, whenever it happens.

I’ve been involved with this issue long enough (see article)– I was a hospice volunteer off and on for over 20 years, I’ve sat with numerous people and their families as they lay dying, I’ve been a caregiver and a counselor to the dying, I had a near-death experience 40 years ago (see article)– and I understand more about death and dying than most people who try not to think about it at all.

Most folks have opinions related to self-preservation, love of family and their life, or religious dogma, but a narrow perspective of the whole issue. So I’m just going to think out loud here to give others some food for thought… with the caveat that you continue this conversation with someone immediately after reading this and get to work on your own Advanced Healthcare Directive.

I’m 70+ so there’s that. Having seen first hand and studied what happens to the body and the mind of the majority of people as they age, I acknowledge my personal limits. Knowing my body and what I’ve done to it and for it, I’m hoping to live healthy to at least 75 but no longer than 80. Closer to 75, more likely. Beyond 80 things seem to fall apart more rapidly and sitting in front of a TV all day in an assisted living home with a bunch of other half comatose people is not something I could take for more than a minute. Lying in a  hospital bed staring at the ceiling with no hope of ever getting up again would be intolerable.

Now I know there are some 90-year olds still driving and playing golf or milking the cows and tilling the fields,  but that’s not me. There are also some 60-year old, overweight couch potatoes, who can hardly walk from the couch to the refrigerator any more.They’re on multiple medications with multiple side effects and are mostly miserable most of the time.

One’s past habits and lifestyle have a lot to say about how fit we will be in our old age, and we should be aware of our genes and our base lines so we can keep track of our physical health as we age. If you’re 40 and have diabetes, you’re not likely to make it to experience much of old age. If you haven’t cared about your health during your life, you’re not likely to have a healthy older age.

Of course one can always get hit by a bus or have a heart attack or get shot by a wacko on his own suicide mission. Personally if I’m too far gone and it would take too much or too long to restore me to a reasonable state of health, I would opt not to be resuscitated in the first place.

Certainly cracking open my rib cage, cutting off any limbs or hooking my body up to artificial life support are completely off the table. I want not to live without full use of my limbs or cognitive processes so don’t even think about it. If my heart stops, let me be. If I come back on my own, this time, I’ll talk about it. If my mind starts to disappear, you can bet I’ll be working on my suicide plan, physician-assisted or not, before I forget who my loved ones are.

So you have this pain or these symptoms you’ve been ignoring but it’s suddenly gotten worse and you can’t do things you used to be able to do so you finally go to a doctor and they run a bunch of tests and tell you that you have cancer of the blahblah and they’re going to have to take out your blahblah and then you’ll have to have radiation and chemo and then maybe you’ll have a few good months left but every case is different and they just know you’re going to beat this so here, sign these papers and let’s get started.

And you go… WTF? Because you never thought about it before, never allowed yourself to think it might happen to you or someone you love. You didn’t hear a word the doctor said after “cancer.” Your mind went blank and you felt like the elevator just dropped 20 floors in a second.

You are now spinning out of control but your doctor has moved on to the next patient to give him or her the same devastating news and you’re left to gather your wits and find your way home to tell your loved ones… but the only word that comes out of your mouth is… cancer or brain tumor or kidney failure or multiple sclerosis. Suddenly you’re a dead man walking.

You’ve never thought about it before? Never asked anyone what their thoughts are? Never asked someone who is dying what they think about? Would you want everything done? Do you even know what “everything” means? How much of you abilities are you wiling to do without just to see the next football game on TV?

You suddenly black out and wake up hooked up to machines in an ICU, paralyzed so you don’t try to rip out the tubes and  lines, surrounded by strangers with masks on looking down at you and one of them says sprightly, “Welcome back, Mr. Jones. We thought we’d lost you.”

And you’re thinking, “OMG, I was having this wonderful out-of-body experience. I was surrounded by loving beings of light and you brought me back to this? I’ll kill everyone of you!” But you can’t speak, you can’t move. Those people out there think you’re not aware, but you’re aware of everything, you just can’t do anything about it.

You’re wishing you had written that Advanced Healthcare Directive indicating you wanted no extraordinary measures to keep you alive if you were in this unfathomable condition. Unless you have a few lucid moments to state otherwise or can at least blink your eyes if asked, it is now beyond your control. You could end up a living, breathing vegetable for years.

If one is born disabled or becomes disabled through accident or illness, there is a whole added dimension to thoughts about one’s death. Depending on how dependent you are on others for care and whether you are able to communicate or are even aware of what’s happening, decisions are difficult, riddled with guilt and fear, no one ever sure they did the right thing. If you could convey your wishes, what would they be?

Assisted dying is not an option under the current laws unless you can self-administer. It has been tested by brave people with ALS and MS in the U.S. and foreign courts but euthanasia, which allows a physician to administer a life-ending drug to a person who is unable to self-administer because of their disability, is considered murder and many people fear that is opening assisted dying up to a slippery slope that could lead to the wholesale killing of the most vulnerable among us– the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill, the poor.

Instead of showing compassion for those who are wrestling with these very personal decisions, some groups of religious protestors and bio-ethicists use fear and scare tactics, dredging up images from the Holocaust and other genocides, or hellfire and eternal damnation, to keep everyone from having control of how they end their own lives. These moral absolutists feel they are right and everyone else is wrong, and they have to protect us wayward relativists from ourselves as if we had no values. We do, just not the same as theirs.

I value human life as part of our eternal spiritual journey, I just don’t believe in the sanctity of life as the right to lifers do. Theirs is a religion based on fear and a judgmental god. I believe our Free Will gives us the right to determine when the quality of our life has fallen below our level of tolerance; that we should have the right to decide when it’s our time to die, and be able to ask our doctor to help us by giving us a prescription that will allow us to chose the time and circumstances of our own death.

Physicians, pharmacists and hospitals who provide a public benefit to a diverse society cannot impose their personal religious beliefs or moral values on patients at the end of their lives any more than at any other time in their lives. They work for us, we hire them… they are not the boss of us!

The alternative, if one is able, may be to blow your brains out or jump off a bridge or throw yourself in front of a train. What a mess! How much more peaceful and spiritual to take a pill and just go to sleep. Would you rather your family watch you suffer or allow you to die in peace? How much better for your family to be by your side instead of you having to go off like an animal to die alone.

A good way to count oneself down is to make a list of 100 things you do every day and cross items off as you can’t do them anymore until you’re down to the last 5 or 10 or 20, wherever you draw the line, then call your doctor for your prescription, pick it up when you are ready, gather your family together to say your goodbyes and have a final toast to your good death and peaceful journey home.

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How do you make end of life healthcare decisions?

Of a certain age…

by Diane Goble, Columnist, The Nugget News, April 16, 2014

My best friend just had her second mastectomy last week. In the last two years, she’s had her gall bladder removed, a lumpectomy, a mastectomy and now this one. She says the good news is that she’s lost 20 pounds and can see her toes again!

She has several messages on her cell phone asking her to call another oncologist for follow- up. She’s procrastinating. “It’s not in my lymph nodes so I’m not going for radiation or chemo,” she says. “I’m done with the medical stuff.” She insists she’s going to eat better, exercise more, take up yoga and meditation, and try to be as healthy as possible until she dies. She’s contemplating an artistic tattoo to obscure her now breastless chest.

That’s the rub. You can go through all the treatments and deal with all the side effects of them– sick as a dog and wanting to die most of the time. You maybe get a few good months and then it comes back with a vengeance and you die anyway. The outcome is the same. The difference is the quality of life in between.

This doesn’t have any thing to do with age. My friend is in her 60s, five years younger than I am. It can happen to us at any time in our lives. We have jobs to get to, children to raise, relationships to deal with, bills to pay, retirement to plan for, and then suddenly we have to make these decisions about what we want and don’t want because we are diagnosed with a serious illness or have a life-threatening accident.

I had a stage IV melanoma a while back. Had the Moh’s surgery, no problems, no lymph node involvement. That follow-up oncologist wanted to do radiation and possibly chemo, but I said no thanks. I’ve been in remission for almost 8 years. That doesn’t mean it won’t still come back. One or two spots I’d probably have them removed but that with a vengeance thing not so much. I’ll start planning for the end of my days.

I don’t have a problem with dying. I did that once. Drowned. It was a fantastic journey home and back again. I expect it to be the same the next time, only without the back again, so I look forward to moving on to what comes next… because I know there’s a next. Of course I’ll miss my family and friends but I know I’ll see them again soon.

My concern is more about what will happen to me while I’m still in a body. I refuse to put up with Alzheimer’s. Any inkling of that and I’m making my going away party plans before I forget how! I’ve filled out my Advance Healthcare Directive and appointed a non-family member as my healthcare representative so my children don’t have to make any decisions. They don’t want to talk about it so I sent them their copies and included a video of me telling them my decisions about what I want and don’t want. I’d opt for a heart attack over a prolonged illness, but if it were an illness, I’d be working on the paperwork process for physician aid-in-dying the moment I got that 6 months to live diagnosis then I’d keep working my Bucket List!

So how does one decide what they want at the end of their life? It has to be based on one’s own beliefs and values, not forced on you by someone else’s biases. Talk to your family, your doctor, your spiritual advisor, search your soul, search the Internet… meditate, pray, talk to God or a tree. Educate yourself about the process. There are some good videos out these days about death and dying– “Consider the Conversation,” “How to Die in Oregon,” “The Day I Died: The mind, the brain, and near-death experiences.” The more you know, the better decisions you can make about your own healthcare at the end of life.

April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day… think about it!

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What if death is… ?

Death is always a loss no matter how you look at it and it doesn’t mean there won’t be grief, but what if…?

  • What if dying is actually a wonderful, exciting experience as near-death experiencers have described?
  • What if dying is an opportunity to celebrate the end of a wonderful human experience and a joyous return to our spiritual home and family?
  • What if death is our graduation from the University of Life on Earth and we go on to have other amazing experiences exploring consciousness at higher levels, being co-creators with God?
  • What if all those who have transitioned before us are there to greet us, and those we leave behind join us again almost before we know it because there is no time?
  • What if we exist in a multi-dimensional universe in many different forms in many different frequencies of endless possibilities?
  • What if consciousness doesn’t arise from matter, but creates matter?
  • What if our True Nature is continuous and our human lifetimes are breathing spaces along our eternal journey?
  • What if our human lives are not completely predestined and we have the free will to choose to break the cycle of death and rebirth, and move into higher consciousness and higher dimensions?
  • What if we can accelerate our progress by practicing the art of conscious dying during each human lifetime we experience?
  • What if we make the spiritual connection in a human lifetime and go directly into the Light at transition, thereby propelling our soul into the next dimension?

How wonderful would that be?

• • • • • • •

Excepted from new book by Diane Goble

Stepping into the Light

Reframing death from a Near-Death Experience perspective

(due out in June 2014)

Vote YES for Death with Dignity laws

Please watch this video and vote with your heart for what you know is the right thing to do…

Vote YES for physician-assisted dying when it comes up in your state before another family has to suffer like this family did, still is, will always. For Nattie’s sake, allow all of us the right to make the choice depending on our own circumstances.

 

Reframing Death for the Death with Dignity debate

As I listened to the public testimony at the hearing before the Connecticut legislature last week on HB5326 that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally ill, what stuck me about the people testifying, whether for or against, was an underlying fear of death.

Some who are opposed to physician-assisted dying cover up their fears by proclaiming that human life, no matter what condition one’s body is in nor how ready to let go one is, is worth living and should not be ended prematurely.

Some religious speakers insist their God decides when it is time for us to die and we have no right to play God or that this is an act of suicide which is a sin– conjuring up images of burning in hell for eternity as punishment.

Many of those in favor of a law with similar safeguards and restrictions to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, talked about frightening experiences and fearful anxiety associated with the deaths of their loved ones that they felt could have been reduced if there were such a law and their person could have died peacefully at home in their own bed surrounded by family.

That’s all people are asking is to be able to die in peace, on their own terms, not filled with fear, not strapped to machines surrounded by strangers, not in agonizing pain for days or weeks before the body shuts down… and if the circumstances of their deaths are such that a medication would ease their pain and allow them to continue their dying process in peace if that is their expressed desire, then how can we have a law that denies it because some other people who aren’t yet dying are afraid of death, afraid of a slippery slope, afraid of genocide, afraid of impending doom?

Then there’s the fear of being charged with murder if out of compassion for a person’s suffering a loved one helps a person by administering a lethal medication. Families are forced to live with the fear of watching their loved one dying in agony knowing there is nothing they can do to relieve their suffering. The dying person suffers greater fear their loved one will go to jail if they help hasten their death.

Physician’s fall back on an oath written 2,000 years ago when physicians were thought to be gods because of their healing abilities and everyone thought the world was flat. Get over yourselves! They don’t consider that healing the soul and a peaceful death are what we need most of all at the end of our lives, not more false hopes and futile treatments that cause us more pain and suffering with no time to say goodbye to our loved ones.

Yes, palliative care is crucial and will be able to help most people achieve a peaceful death through pain management, but it’s not yet available everywhere, especially in rural areas, and it doesn’t work in all cases so it’s not a panacea. Hospice is not even available everywhere and with budget cuts they are often understaffed and out-of-reach.

The way the law is written almost no one can qualify to begin with. Only if you have a disease, like cancer, either for which there are no more treatments or patient has stopped treatments allowing nature to take its course, can a doctor with any degree of certainty predict a person has 6 months or less to live… which is why many people outlive a 6-month prognosis. Many people get better under hospice care because they are so well cared for and are no longer being subjected to the side-effects from  treatments meant to keep them alive with no quality of life.

And if you say you want to die, according to psychiatry, you are automatically diagnosed with depression; therefore you don’t qualify for the medication. So we’re spending a lot of time and money debating an issue that affects a relatively small number of people as if we were fighting against a trend toward genocide, all because we are afraid that death is the worst thing that could happen to us.

Most people wait too long to request hospice where they can also receive pain management so public education about palliative care is an important factor in end of life care. People are afraid hospice means the end, but it really means time to spend with your family, reconcile your life, get your paperwork in order, wrap up the details of your life, write out your last wishes, complete your bucket list, reconcile your life and say your goodbyes.

Yes, even to have a “suicide party” as one lawyer testified about with much disdain. It seems hearing what your loved ones have to say about you and saying your goodbyes before drinking a last toast is less acceptable, more fearful, than after the fact in an impeccable funeral parlor with everybody crying instead of laughter and hugs around the bedside at home.

Most people die after being rushed into the ER, resuscitated, and hooked up to machines in an ICU for a number of days, usually scared shitless and completely unconscious of the agony their family is going through because they didn’t let their last wishes be known. The last memory the family is likely to have of their loved one is of them dying in fear and agony with no opportunity to say goodbye.

If I were able to take a test that showed I was likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, I would be stocking up on pills and planning my exit strategy. If I were told I had pancreatic cancer, I would start working on my bucket list, planning my farewell party, and requesting my lethal prescription. In any case, I would not turn myself over to medical science hoping for a miracle out of fear of death… because I do not fear death.

I died once and I know there is nothing to fear. It’s like stepping out of an old worn out overcoat into the sunshine on a spring day filled with love, peace and joy on our journey home!

To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not.
For it is to think one knows what one does not know.
No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest blessings of human beings.
And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil.

–Socrates

How we die – Dr. Sherwin Nuland died

Dr. Sherwin Nuland, surgeon, bioethicist and author of the book “How We Die,” died last week. He was 83 years old and died from prostate cancer. He felt it was important to describe in his book how we die, physically and mentally, from cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other common illnesses so we could have frank discussions with our doctor to help us deal with those aspects of illness and death that frighten us the most.

His first patient as a med student in a hospital ER died suddenly from a heart attack. He experienced the death of many family members including his mother when he was 11, and was with his father and his brother when they took their last breaths as they died from colon cancer. As a physician, he observed the process toward death of many of his patients in many different ways.

He wrote that death with dignity is a myth and while we would all like to die a good death, it rarely happens that way. Most of the time, patients suffer interminably, often prolonged by aggressive treatments, visits to the ICU, or futile treatments, through pain, humiliation and lack of control. Even under the best of care, the dying process, especially a prolonged dying process, can be agonizing for both the dying person and the family.

As a hospice volunteer for many years, I witnessed a number of deaths and been told about many others by volunteers, nurses and chaplains in support groups. Enough to agree with Dr. Nuland that we don’t always get what we ask for in that regard and when it does happen, it’s just a  coincidence.

More likely, we will be completely helpless or barely coherent and things will go on behind our backs without our knowledge or understanding by people who say they have our best interests at heart. We may want to die at home in our own bed surrounded by family but it’s more likely the last thing we’ll see will look more like a scene from a horror movie in a bright, sterile torture chamber.

Doctors will tell patients and families what they think they want to hear, that there is always something that can be done, that there’s always hope that the next treatment will be the one. Families tell their dying loved ones half truths to protect them, make promises they can’t keep, pretend everything is going well when it isn’t, avoid conversations about how they want to die until it is too late. Everyone follows the philosophy, as Dr. Nuland said he did for so long, that anything is better than death.

911 is called, CPR is administered, ribs are broken, tubes are inserted, bodies are bruised, invasive procedures performed. Maybe patients are put on ventilators and paralyzed so they don’t fight the restraints that bind them to keep their bodies alive. They know everything that is going on but they can’t do anything about it. They are trapped in a private hell while decisions about how to prolong life are debated in the hallways. Their death is terribly, terribly difficult and is the usual outcome of all this activity. Statistically, only a small percentage of these patients make it out of the hospital alive after this frightening experience. An even smaller percentage survive for more than a few months.

What gets taken away from the terminally ill or elderly patient is the opportunity to be at home surrounded by their loved ones during the last few weeks or months as the body shuts down naturally and the person adjusts to letting go. They lose the time to make amends and reconcile their lives, to say their goodbyes and fulfill their bucket lists.

This is what Dr. Nuland came to understand through the deaths of his patients and family members and why he wrote his book to help people make informed decisions about their preferences for end of life care, including when to stop aggressive, invasive treatments and accept pain management for the remainder of one’s life.

During his lifetime, hospice and palliative care have evolved to assume a bigger role in the care of terminally ill patients to keep people out of the ICU and allow them to die a good death at home surrounded by their family. It’s not available everywhere yet. Budget cuts are a problem. And it doesn’t work well for everyone. But it is bringing the business of dying back into the family and changing the practice of medicine at the end of life. Healing doesn’t necessarily mean curing the disease.

Dr. Nuland realized it’s not true that anything is better than death and, for many people, what they would have to go though in order to come out the other side alive is simply not worth the pain and effort for the short reprieve. He came to recognize that death is part of the life cycle and to redefine hope as the belief that something meaningful will happen, that we lived a life that meant something to others and will be renewed through others whose lives we touched.

Although Dr. Nuland wasn’t a proponent of physician-assisted dying, he was a strong advocate for end of life planning, including having The Conversation among family members, appointing a healthcare representative with the authority to speak for you if you become unable to communicate, and filling out an Advanced Healthcare Directive to assure your end of life wishes are carried out.

Being proactive doesn’t mean you are giving up or are by any means ready to die. The Conversation ideally should take place long before anyone is even sick or turns 65 because life can change on a dime and suddenly there is no time. Decisions have to be made immediately, no discussion.

If there has been no conversation and there is no Advance Healthcare Directive, the family is put under greater stress by being forced to make healthcare decisions for you without knowing what you might have wanted. As Dr. Nuland wrote doing everything may not always be the best choice. The question is where do you draw the line for your self? Next– tell someone!

Next month, April 16th, is National Healthcare Decisions Day, download Advanced Healthcare Directive forms by state for everyone in your family.

Get some tools and advice about having The Conversation with your family or with your neighbors, groups, organizations.

Become informed about Death With Dignity laws in your state; download forms from Compassion & Choices

Prepare your self mentally, emotionally and spiritually for your death whenever, however it happens – How to Die Consciously by Diane Goble

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Assisted Suicide vs. Aid-in-dying: Word Wars

“Assisted suicide” vs. “Aid in Dying”: They both mean the same thing in the context of the right of a person to make his or her own decisions about his or her own end of life, but some self-righteous, narrow-minded, dogmatic religious fanatics who are obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of their own opinions and prejudices against those who hold different opinions seem to think that if they stir peoples’ emotions up they can win this battle and prevent those who want this choice from being able to have it legally and without prejudice.

It has been shown that words make a difference. Words evoke emotions based on beliefs. In polls where people are asked if they approve of Death With Dignity Acts, the results are skewed against when the word “suicide” is used in place of “aid in dying.” It is an emotional issue that plays with peoples’ fears and insecurities, not just about the meaning in this life but in the next life. Self-righteous religious people hold up their beliefs about the sanctity of life to guilt vulnerable, frightened people into needless suffering at the end of life. They are trying to legislate their version of morality as if they were right and the majority of people who are in favor of Death With Dignity are all wrong.

This one guy who regularly spews his right-to-life platitudes and insists, in his most recent blog, that “aid in dying” is a euphemism for “assisted suicide” is particularly annoying the way he twists the truth to fit his beliefs. HIS beliefs! The man seems to have no compassion, just opinions about what’s right for the rest of us. Just because he hasn’t evolved consciously enough to realize the difference between a distraught person who wants to end his or her life and a dying person who doesn’t want to die but makes an informed decision to leave his body on his or her own terms doesn’t mean he won’t have his Aha! moment on his own death bed and have a change of heart.

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s called aid in dying or assisted suicide. Quibbling over semantics is just a smokescreen. A dying person who knows when this body no longer serves the soul and is ready to go home is the determinant factor.

Just a suggestion but instead of using fear tactics, put your energy into seeing to it that good laws are passed in all states that will protect people from having death forced upon them because they are senile or poor or severely disabled or by external forces and empower assisting physicians to fulfill requests for prescriptions.

We are already doing a good job of killing people with all our air, water and land pollution; not paying attention to climate changes; cutting funding to social programs; and not caring about the homeless or victims of the economic downturn, or the mentally ill who are cast adrift. Aside from all the murders and mass shootings, people in this country are starving to death, freezing to death, dying in the streets, in our forests, in rivers, in the ocean, jumping off bridges because they aren’t able to survive in this economic climate. Nobody seems to care about these people. And yet some people want to stop other people from being able to self-administer prescribed medicine to shorten a dying process they find unbearable. Tch. Tch.