Peace is the thing that connects each person to the other. Buddhism is so helpful because you don’t feel that you’re losing anything, it’s all a part of what is happening and we’re not designed to be here forever.
—Anne Dasburg, Hospice Patient, Living with Dying
And I have just come to realize lately that my purpose is to just be as openhearted as I can be, so I can live now open-heartedly and die open-heartedly.
I meet people who have cancer but they are all in recovery, and I haven’t yet met a person who is willing to talk about dying. And who wants to talk about it. And I think that would be really helpful for me. Because I feel like I am preparing for dying.
—Chizuko Tasaka, Hospice Patient, Living with Dying
I perceive or make up that this journey with cancer, for me, is really not about life or death. It is totally about my spiritual journey, about the wisdom of life and understanding, perhaps a little bit better what the dimension is about, what the life and living is for.
Somebody told me of a little rhyme: When I was born everybody around me was happy and I was crying. When I die, everybody around me will be crying, but I will be happy. And that’s it for me.
—Chris Calloway, Living with Cancer
Fears are like big paper dragons in Chinese parades, they’re big and they’re terrible but they’re just paper mache.
You can’t control if you get cancer. You can’t control if a meteorite falls and hits you but you can control how you respond to what happens to you. You can be angry. You can be resentful. You can be full of regrets or you can decide that you’re going to be joyful and that you’re going to be loving and you’re going to care about other people and you’re going to continue to give in spite of what happens around you, that’s the only real freedom.
—Diego Rose, Living with Cancer
My family gave the land behind our house to the church. My parents, grandparents and sons are buried in the cemetery behind my house. I can see my plot from the kitchen window. I want to go home, when will God take me?
—Gertrude Padilla, Hospice Patient, Living with Dying
We’re all dying from the day that we’re born; we’re in the process of dying and once you have reconciled that with yourself, it opens up windows for you. You live a different way. You think a different way. You process every moment of your day a different way.
The biggest fear I have is really about pain. I do know from the time I’ve worked with hospice, that the pain is one of the things that they specialize in. So for me, that’s really important. The second thing that is really important to me is not being hospitalized.
—Kathy Stanwick, Hospice Patient, Living with dying
Even though I am very much here I also feel like I am partly in this other world. But it doesn’t really interfere with my being here because I have such passions for things. I have no inhibition any longer in expressing the love that I feel for the people that I love who are so important to me.
Everybody should be granted the grace and respect to die how they wish, to die as they have lived.
—Mary Burford, Hospice Patient, Living with dying
The people that we know that are the most joyous are the ones who are willing to face their grief and their pain.
I believe illness is a great teacher. It’s really like a healer’s training. It’s a wonderful teacher if you can surrender and open to it.
—Ondrea Levine, Living with cancer
I think feelings are unique, it’s like a fingerprint. Nobody can teach you feeling, people who dance the tango, they are thousands. People who feel the tango, we are very few.
This is not a poker game. So do the best you can, do it with honesty and I think you are going to die peacefully, and that’s important. Because you need to die to be part of what you are going to leave behind as energy in the world.
—Ricardo Vidort, Hospice Patient, Living with dying