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Four Things to Say When Someone is Dying

03 September, 2012
Photo Credit: Art Crimes, via Flickr

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Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Adam Navis.

Voice 2

And I'm Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Being close to someone who is dying is not easy. It can make people uncomfortable. It can be difficult to know what to say. Today's Spotlight is on what to say when someone is dying.

Voice 2

Doctor Ira Byock has worked for years with people who are dying. He wrote a book called "The Four Things that Matter Most." In it he writes that there are four things we should try to say to people who are dying. They are: Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. And, I love you. In today's program we will look at each one.

Voice 1

The first thing to say to someone who is dying is:

Voice 2

Please forgive me.

Voice 1

Everyone does things that they wish they had not done. Or they did not do things that they wish they had done. We all hurt other people. Christians call this "sin." And sin can ruin our relationships with other people. Forgiveness is how we rebuild these broken relationships.

Voice 2

But forgiveness is not just a Christian idea. Forgiveness is important to many religions. Islam teaches that God is the starting point of all forgiveness. Buddhists will forgive to release themselves from suffering. And the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur is all about forgiveness.

Voice 1

When a person does something wrong, they can feel bad. Sometimes they feel bad for years, even if no one knows what they have done. But people do not want to carry their mistake into death. They want to tell what they did before it is too late. When a person admits a mistake and says, "Please forgive me," it can feel like a heavy weight has been taken from them.

Voice 2

Asking for forgiveness can be difficult. But forgiving someone else can feel close to impossible. But this is the second thing we should say to someone near death.

Voice 1

I forgive you.

Voice 2

Everyone has hurt another person. But everyone has also been hurt by other people. These can be small things that we forget. But they can be life changing events that we remember for years. These things can be like a stone in a shoe. Every step brings pain. Forgiveness can take the stone out.

Voice 1

For Christians, forgiving people is required. The Christian Bible says: "If you forgive people when they sin against you, God will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people their sins, God will not forgive your sins." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Voice 2

Saying, "I forgive you" when someone is dying does two things. For the dying person, it can release them from suffering. They may feel bad, but not know how to ask for forgiveness. But saying, "I forgive you" can also be good for the person who says it. It can free them from pain, bad memories, and suffering. It will not make a person forget what happened. But it may start the process of emotional healing.

Voice 1

It can be difficult to say, "Please forgive me." It can also be difficult to say, "I forgive you." But the next thing is much easier to say.

Voice 2

Thank you.

Voice 1

All people want to receive thanks for what they have done. People want to know that their life has meaning. As a person gets close to death, they ask themselves, "Did my life mean anything?" When people say, "Thank you" they are answering this question. They are saying, "Yes, you made a mark on my life."

Voice 2

When someone is dying, it is easy to only see the present time. And death can make us forget about the many good parts of life. By saying, "Thank you" we remember that each person is more than their final days. No one is perfect. But everyone has done something that deserves thanks.

Voice 1

The final thing to say can be the easiest to say. But it can also be the most difficult to say.

Voice 2

I love you.

Voice 1

Saying, "I love you" is way to declare that relationships matter. The connections that people have to each other are what make life worth living. The Christian Bible says that when we face death, "These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Voice 2

Not everyone shows love in the same way. Some people kiss and touch and cry together. Other people are more quiet. One man, named Gunter was like this. His father had always been a quiet person. He never showed his love with a lot of touching. But he was dying of cancer. Gunter did not know how to say, "I love you."

Voice 1

But one day his father said to him, "Will you cut the hair on my face?" Gunter knew that this was a special request. His father was weak. But Gunter was careful and gentle. He was able to touch his father's face. This was something that he had never done before. When he was done, his father said, "Thank you, that feels much better." This was how one family found a way to share their love. It does not matter how you show love. It only matters that you show it.

Voice 2

As you can see, these four things are simple. They address what is important in life. And we do not have to wait until someone is dying to use them. Dr. Byock explains:

Voice 3

"These four simple sentences are powerful tools for improving your life. I have taught hundreds of patients who were facing death to say the Four Things. But the Four Things can be used at any time. They are just eleven words. But these four short sentences carry wisdom. They are what matters most in life."

Voice 1

Is there someone in your life who you need to talk to? Who do you need to ask, "Please forgive me." Who do you need to tell, "I forgive you"? Is there someone you need to thank? Can you find someone today to tell, "I love you"? Do it today. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.

Voice 2

The writer and producer of this program was Adam Navis. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. Computer users can hear our programs, read our scripts, and see our word list on our website at http://www.Radio.English.net. This program is called "Four Things to Say When Someone is Dying."

Voice 1

If you have a comment or question for Spotlight you can email us. Our email address is radio@english.net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Thank you for listening. Goodbye!

Comments

saidlearn

saidlearn said on September 06, 2011

Name of Allah Rahman nomadic Am

He says

(And the agony of death came to the right that you deviate from it)

Truth of God Almighty

Often live human moments of his life moving between joy and sadness, anxiety and fear, love and hate and pride and shame and failure and victory ..
Many of us going through these moments, and often go unnoticed, and every moment must be completed, including his feelings to us and feelings without causing permanent change in people and change them simultaneously, we come and go away ..

but the feeling of death .. Have you tried them?

It feels great and is just a feeling, and moments of experience to the position of death

.. So what if it is true ..

Sense of death fly humans to another world the world of childhood world of teenage world of young people fly into the world, home to the experimenter .. Feeling that he trembled and his chilling memories and overlap it by the seconds racing .. Sense of time and speeds up the wheel you feel that you are going to another world, another world away from your family and I knew the only Tcefek doors and unite your angels and dispersed from the question .. Moments do not know how to be and to any body do they come lights joy or darkness is frightening or Sttalm Stanagad to your new world and you are smiling ..?
This strange feeling suspicious scary severed by the cheeks and eyes blinded by his heart tremble and you lost does not know what will be and how will send ..

Moments .... And leave your world and forget your family and go to a long journey is not hard to learn is the mother of a comfortable ..

saidlearn

saidlearn said on September 06, 2011

thank you for you

Tod

Tod said on September 05, 2012

nice program!!!
Thank you.

Shabeeb

Shabeeb said on September 05, 2012

Realy good job

ptquan

ptquan said on September 07, 2012

The program today is meaningful. I might be confuse, if I did not read the material today. I will remember the four things we should tell with dying people.
The first thing is request some person to forgive us ! It can make emotion healing.
The second thing is forgive for some person. It can be more difficult than asking person forgive us. But after that, it release a good felling.
The third is more easier. It makes some person fell they has done something that deserves thanks.
The last thing is talking about the love with some person. Someone dose not how to express their love. But the program taught me that ” It does not matter how you show love. It only matters that you show it !” . Thank spotlight, thank author !

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