Instruction video:

Introduction

In these complex times the Dutch doctors asked us to make a manual of rituals for those who can't say goodbye to lovedones and because of the Corona crises can't be personally present. In these sad situations there still is a lot you can do. We have created a manual of rituals. Rituals you can perform together with friends and family, in your own homes and places, distant though connected. We give you some suggestions how to proceed in this. Preparations and steps to be taken, so you can in your own way say goodbye to your lovedone. We truly hope it can help you through this hard times and help you to find the connection, good faith and hope for the future. On this page you find the manual (in English). On behalf of Luis Kaserer (Curanimae) en Beatrijs Hofland (zingevingopdekaart)


Copyright by Luis Kaserer, Gouda www.curanimae.nl

Beatrijs Hofland, Breda www.zingevingopdekaart.nl

Manual in 2 parts:


This manual exists of 2 parts ( to be performed either simultaneously or separate)

Part A contains a ritual of saying goodbye to a lovedone, for those (caregivers, chaplains*) who are  present with a dying patient and are willing to perform a ritual. Please contact the facility of hospital your loved one is admitted to ask the caregivers/chaplain/counsellor of find your own church/parish chaplain.

Regarding part A (caregivers who are present) : it is not possible in this paper to provide a manual for all rituals from all traditions. To keep it simple, we describe three rituals: One for a dying person with a Roman Catholic background, one with a Protestant background and one for a person who does not have a traditional spiritual background ora spiritual background that we are aware of. 

Part B contains the ritual for family and friends in their own homes, who can't be present with their dying loved one. There are tips and directions for what you could do at home. 

These two rituals could be performed separately but also at the same time in different places. Preferably at the same time so it could reinforce the sense of connectedness. You can make use of social media, like video calling (Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime etc.) But only if you're feeling ok with that.

*Please note: when there can't be a chaplain or ritual counsellor present, please note that everyone can give the dying person/patient/client a valuable goodbye. So any caregiver, GP, nurse, doctor, vistor, anyone who can through their profession be present with the dying person, can perform this ritual.

The purpose and meaning of these rituals is to give consolation, hope and care to relieve the pain of the (coming) loss. And to ensure the bond of connection and love between loved ones. It is well-known that being able to say goodbye in a way that is personal and valuable can ease the pain and sorrow and help with grieving in the time to come.

A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step...

IMMEDIATE DOWNLOADS BELOW:

Download the complete elaborate document for the two rituals, Part A performed for either a dying person with a Roman Catholic background, someone with a Protestant background and someone person who does not have a traditional spiritual background ora spiritual background that we are aware of. Part B consisting of rituals for the family and relatives who can't be present with their loved one.

Download the complete document:

Download PART A: Ritual for caregivers present with a dying patient

Download PART B: Ritual for family who can't be present:

PART A: Ritual for caregivers present with a dying patient

Part A: a ritual of saying goodbye to a lovedone, for those (caregivers, chaplains*) who are present with the dying person and are willing to perform a ritual.To perform this ritual, it's important to inform the dying person to which activity they're up to: saying goodby to life and loved ones.

If family and relatives chose to perform the ritual at he same time, please mark a day and time so you can be connected in the same moment. (Part B refers to rituals for the family). In normal circumstances it would be a normal part of life: providing a worthy goodbye, but in these exceptional times it almost feels like an 'extra'.  Please remember that anything you do at this moment is a matter of the heart and soul and is so valuable to the people you can help in this way. So don't feel guilty if you cannot proceed the way you're used to. This exceptional situations offers chances and possibities. It demands of you to be creative and think out-of -the-box. We're very aware of the fact that you're already working in stressful situations so be thankful, as the families definitely will be- for all the things you can give and do right now. 

Follow your heart and intuition and common sense, listen to the dying patient and the familiy. Try to discover which religious conviction or view of life the person has. Try to find suitable symbols or texts that belong to these traditions or this person in particular. Notice jewelery, books or pictures there are in the room and if possible, ask the family for any valuable symbols. 

[*Note: This manal coming from a Dutch situation, where Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and Islam are the most widespread institutional religions, we provided for a manual in these traditions. For the international version however, we decided to write a more humanistic oriented ritual for anyone to fill in with their own specific wishes and symbols and meaningful rituals. Please feel free to regard this manual as a first step and work in progress to be edited by yourself.]


6 steps ritual

Introduction

PART A: Ritual for caregivers present with a dying patient

Make the preparations: if possible, agree on a day and time with the relatives to perform this ritual together. Try to find suitable symbols or texts that belong to the particular spiritual traditions of this person. Take note of any jewelry, books or photographs in the room and if possible, ask the family if there are any meaningful symbols that might be used. Establish a video connection- if possible and desirable.

STEP 1

Take the symbols and place them near the patient. Always talk them through what you're doing: this restores their sense of autonomy and connection. Do this also when the dying person is unconscious or in a coma. They might well hear you.

STEP 2

Light a candle (this may be an electric one) and tell the dying person that this is the moment to say goodbye to life and family, even though their relatives cannot be present. Stay quiet for a few moments.

STEP 3

Explain that the patient can be connected in mind, thoughts and feelings right now with the loved ones (if you know their names, call them out loud). Ask to imagine them right now. Ask if there is anything that should be said and shared at this moment. Take note to pass this later on to the family.

STEP 4

Read a text, Bible verse, a poem or maybe a letter. Here are 2 suggestions:

I am free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following paths God made for me
I took his hand, I heard him call
Then turned, and bid farewell to all

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to sing, to play
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found my peace ... at close of play

And if my parting left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened... deep with sorrow
I wish you sunshine of tomorrow
My life's been full I've savored much
Good friends, good times
A loved one's touch

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now
He set me free.

[anonymous]

The Life That I Have

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Leo Marks [https://funeralguide.co.za/condolence-poetry/]

STEP 5

You could remain quiet for a moment or share what you feel when hearing/speaking these words. If allowed, you could touch the forehead of your patient as a token of blessing or caring (to bless means to wish each other well). You could read these words of blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

STEP 6

If possible, you could play some music you've chosen beforehand.

Conclusion

Once you have completed the ritual, you could inform the relatives and tell them what happened and how the patient responded. This is very helpful information for them. Don't hesitate to share your own feelings and impressions. After all, you're doing this as a compassionate caregiver! You can be thankful and maybe proud of what you did. We know we are!

Luis Kaserer, Dutch Chaplain www.curanimae.nl and

Beatrijs Hofland, Dutch Chaplain, www.zingevingopdekaart.nl 

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again."

― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay  

Download PART A: Ritual for caregivers present with a dying patient


PART B: Ritual for relatives who cannot be present whith their loved ones

Instruction video:

6 steps ritual

PART B: Ritual for relatives who cannot be present whith their loved ones

Introduction

Make the preparations: mark if possible a day and time with the caregivers to perform this ritual together. Inform all relatives and friends who want to say goodbye. Try to find suitable symbols or texts that belong to your lovedone. For example jewelery, books or pictures or any valuable symbols. Try to find out which music is important for you and choose a text or poem. If possible, establish a video connection through Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime etc.

STEP 1

Gather the symbols, including a candle and maybe flowers and a muscibox and make a holy place in your own room.

STEP 2

Light the candle and say the names of your loved one out loud. By calling someone by the name you express your connectedness and life cycle from birth to death.

STEP 3

Talk about your favourite memories together and share the grief and gratitude. Share your emotions, be as you are. Share what your loved one has done or meant to you in your life. Say how he/she will be remembered.

STEP 4

Read a letter, poem or text that is of importance to you. Maybe a verse from the Bible. Or a songtext. Or something you wrote yourself.

STEP 5

Listen to music that has a special meaning to you and your loved one. Music opens the heart. Feel the connection with your loved one.

STEP 6

Share your last wishes and prayers with your loved one. In thoughts and feelings you can bless eachtother (to bless means wish eachother well), you can choose these or other words:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Finish the ritual with putting out the candle. Share with your relatives and friends what you experienced. Support eachother now and in the days to come. Remember that:

A caring heart, a listening ear,
A thoughtful word, a gentle tear
Will help to lift the heavy load,
Of weary souls along life's road.

[D. Dehaan]


Download Part B: rituals for family who can't be present:

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