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Celebrating Life. Preparing for our final journey. Henri Nouwen. Sharing his reflections on his death in,     " Beyond the Mirror ". In the face of death,. I realized that it was not love that

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Celebrating Life

Preparing for our final journey

October 29, 2005


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Henri Nouwen

Sharing his reflections on his death in,    "Beyond the Mirror"

October 29, 2005


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In the face of death,

I realized that it was not love that

kept me clinging to life but unresolved anger. Love, real love flowing from me or toward me, sets me free to die….

No, the real struggle was not a matter of leaving loved ones. The real struggle had to do with leaving behind me people whom I had not forgiven or who had not forgiven me.

October 29, 2005


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As I thought of them,

As I felt the life weakening in me, I felt a deep desire to forgive and to be forgiven, to let go of all evaluations and opinions, and to be set free from the burden of judgments.

October 29, 2005


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As we age-

What do we carry with us?

October 29, 2005





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What helps us move beyond personal points of view/opinions and encounter the « other »

October 29, 2005


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At the heart of forgiveness is the primacy of relationship. and encounter the « other »

October 29, 2005


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Etty Hillesum and encounter the « other »

God, take me by Your hand. I shall follow You dutifully, and not resist too much. I shall evade none of the tempest life has in store for me. I shall try to face it all as best I can... I shall never again assume, in my innocence, that any peace that comes my way will be eternal. I shall accept all the inevitable tumult and struggle... I shall follow wherever Your hand leads me and shall try not to be afraid. I shall try to spread some of my warmth, of my genuine love for others, wherever I go... I don't want to be anything special, I only want to try to be true to that in us which seeks to fulfill its promise.

October 29, 2005


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Martin Buber and encounter the « other »

Martin Buber speaks of the “I-Thou” relationship as a reverent being-with the other through which one’s own humanity is confirmed.

“The primary word I-Thou can be spoken only with…concentration and fusion into whole being [which] can never take place alone, nor can it take place without me. I become through my relation to the

Thou; as I become I, I say Thou.” - Buber, 1958

October 29, 2005


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Presence and encounter the « other »

  • “Real presence is more than the attention of a spectator. It is giving oneself as participant in a relationship. It is presence born out of availability and a spirit of quietness. It requires receiving a presence as well as giving one’s own.”

  • Marsden, 1990

October 29, 2005


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Levels of helping relationship and encounter the « other »

Expert: I treat your problem

Coach: I help and guide the changes you need

Advise and counsel: I provide information and possible motivation for what you what you have to do

Mutuality: Relationship is key; we enter into a stage of mutual vulnerablility and learning.

October 29, 2005


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Presence and encounter the « other »

  • Presence: being present to people who are fragile; being present to one another. To live fully the present moment and not to hide behind some past ideals or future utopia. Our human hearts are thirsting for presence: the presence of a friend; the presence of someone who will listen faithfully, who does not judge but who understands, appreciates, and through love lowers the barriers of inner fear and anguish.

  • Jean Vanier 2003

October 29, 2005


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Being present with someone who and encounter the « other »is dying.

  • "When I reflect on my own life, I realize that the moments of greatest comfort and consolation were moments when someone said: ?I cannot take your pain away, I cannot offer you a solution for your problem, but I can promise you that I won't leave you alone?. . .

  • There is much grief and pain in our lives, but what a blessing it is when we do not have to live our grief and pain alone. That is the gift of compassion." Henri Nouwen

October 29, 2005


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The story of Cecile - faith and forgiveness and encounter the « other »

  • Will you be there,…

  • I’m not afraid of seeing Jesus, but I’m afraid that it will hurt.

  • Please bury me with my parents.

    • Cecile had left her family as a young girl and lived in institutions most of her life.

    • Yet she fostered love and longed to be with her parents at the end of her journey.

October 29, 2005


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Monique’s story – and encounter the « other »callingfriends and family together

  • Who decides? The family gathers and everyone wants to be heard and have input. It can be a divisive or healing moment.

    • Planning with the family and with close friends. Often we speak of the dying person when in fact we are speaking about ourselves.

October 29, 2005


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Michael Kennedy’s story – the dignity of choice and encounter the « other »

  • The dignity of choice. Is dying at home an option?

  • What happens when you have a disability? Isn’t it more efficient to be cared for in a facility that offers better medical care than at home?

  • What do we need when we are dying?

October 29, 2005


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The story of Paul – caring for those left behind and encounter the « other »

  • Paul a man of great gentleness.

  • Asked quite clearly that we not use any artificial means to keep him alive nor any intrusive medical interventions

  • Is a feeding tube artificial means?

October 29, 2005


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Songs: if my life were a song and encounter the « other »

Which song would you choose:

List some of your favorite liturgical songs as well as the reason for your choices

The choice of liturgical music can greatly enhance the final liturgy when those who love you will gather to reflect and celebrate your life.

October 29, 2005


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Scripture Passage(s) and encounter the « other »

Choose a scripture passage that reflects your life:

Choose your favorite scripture passages along with the reason why it is significant:

Our life’s journey is a slow and gradual awakening to the realization that we are the « Beloved ».

It takes courage to accept this gift given to us without conditions.

October 29, 2005


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Images and symbols and encounter the « other »

When you reflect on the journey of your life, what are some images and symbols that come to your mind?

What are some momentos, images that you would like at your wake, funeral and burial ceremony?

October 29, 2005


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You may want to share your wishes about... and encounter the « other »

  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want

  • The person you want to make health care decisions for you when you cannot

  • What you wish to have for comfort care

  • Ethical, religious, or spiritual instructions

  • Anything else you want your loved ones to and health care providers to know

October 29, 2005


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Talk About It and encounter the « other »

  • Talking now is a gift you give to those close to you. It is in our opinion an act of love.

  • Share and review your wishes with someone close to you/someone you trust.

  • Think of who can support you in all of this.

October 29, 2005


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In gratitude and encounter the « other »

L’Arche Ottawa, 11 Rossland Ave

Ottawa, ON K2G 2K2

(613) 228-7136office@larcheottawa.org www.larche.ca

October 29, 2005