We used to use the expression four eyes in a derogatory way to describe a person who wore glasses. So let’s give it new and inspiring meaning here in relation to dying, death, and grief.
We will call it The 4 I’s of Dying and Death
In my experience if I intend to be truly helpful there is a process or series of activities I need to take in order to lend a hand. First I need to find out what is really going on, I need to investigate. Secondly I need to provide necessary data, I need to inform. Thirdly I need to open up all the possible solutions, I need to help other imagine. Finally I need to encourage action. I need to invite participation in a solution.
It is important to follow this particular order.
The investigation phase is about two primary things; gathering the necessary information; and involving as many of the important family members and medical staff in the conversation. We are building a team of caring people by gathering data and honoring each person’s input. We are getting all the cards on the table.
During the information phase we are making certain all the pertinent information ha been gathered and spoken especially information from the medical system that can sometimes be left out – information regarding success rates, side effects, longevity, and alternatives. If we are to make the best possible choices with or for our loved one we need to have all relative information on the table in front of us.
The next phase is really important, you might liken it to a great brainstorming session. I prefer to use the word imagine, or imagination in order to feel people’s minds up to be creative. Especially given our predisposition to relying heavily on the allopathic or medical system for our care. This is a time when all those gathered around can imagine all manner of possible solutions including those we might consider a bit farfetched. It is a time to be creative leaving our judgments aside.
Once we have imagined all manner of solutions it is time for the invitation phase. This is an important time the recognized the difference between input and final say. It is a time to select the best possible solution for all concerned and invite them to begin taking action based on all the fine work they have done in the first three phases.
So when death is around the corner remember to keep your I’s open, investigate, inform, imagine, and invite. You will be surprised at how successful this simple four-step process can be.