Faith and the Dying Person

question of faith in dying process

Question: What do we do if the dying person has no faith in God or anything else?

Answer:    Basically, we avoid trying to convince the person to become an instant believer.  Instead, we try to find out what, if not God or other religious symbols, moves the dying person beyond him or herself into a feeling of the beauty or mystery of life.  Perhaps it is contemplation of nature, or listening to music, or gazing at art or reading poetry or other literature.  Providing this kind of inspiring experience for the person can help them to relax and let go. Even simple relaxation exercises or beautiful flowers or pleasant background music may serve the releasing process. Utilize whatever you can think of to help draw the dying person out of fear, doubt, and anger as death approaches. You might ask the person what has given his or her life meaning and joy, and help them stay focused on that.  You may also ask what are their biggest fears and concerns, and help them feel safe to examine and perhaps relinquish those concerns.
Even someone who professes faith in God may surprise you with their expressed fears and doubts. And in contrast, someone without such faith may reveal a profound spiritual connection to something else that is greater.   The art of serving a dying person is to help them stay focused on whatever is already deeply felt as greater than the self.

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