My dear friend’s husband is dying of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease and she’s his caretaker. It is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A patient may become totally paralyzed, which is what’s happening to my friend’s husband, who has about three months left on this earth.
How can I help my friend cope with her husband’s devastating illness with no cure? I am honing my listening skills and valuing my own intuition in how I respond to her. I offer suggestions to encourage her psychological well being, as she endures this excruciating experience. He’s dying, and she’s right there watching the entire death process.
Her husband’s developing dementia along with loss of nerves, which in many ways is his biggest blessing. She tries to provide everything he may need, but tonight she told him the truth, again, that he’s dying. Her husband reacted as if he’d never considered the fact and he refuses to believe it.
Maybe there are also ancient dimensions of truth she can access to help her in his transition. This occurred to me as I watched her eyes when she spoke of what’s going on with this latest update of his illness. Her eyes reminded me of a wolf, she seems in another reality.
The wolf is a powerful animal with characteristics to aid understanding of the world beyond this earth. A wolf travels alone, and goes the distance, like my friend is doing for her husband. She remains loyal in her marriage, to death they do part, and she teaches others around her how to behave amidst the ugliest of all diseases is killing her true love. The wolf is a teacher who does her duty. My friend has been a mid-wife by profession, and is currently a university professor in a nursing program.
Human beings have evidence of spirits assisting us beyond our understanding, such as my friend being a trained professional in bringing people into this world and assisting her husband as he leaves. Ancient tribes had the shaman healers during such transitions in their societies. Healers access supernatural forces that seem to be between this world and the next.
The word shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia, and has been coined as referring to the activities of spiritual practices in indigenous cultures rooted in nature.
My friend knows that in this tragedy, she needs to take occasional breaks from physically caring for her husband, so she spends times walking around gardens and watering her plants. honoring her own goodness. She isn’t trying to communicate with anything malevolent, but simply tries to stay in positivity and light, and keeps her focus on delivering joy to a dying man.
I can honor my friend’s humility and fortitude, and encourage her to know in her heart that she is doing every good thing she can to make him comfortable through to the end. She needs to also remember that modern society does not have all the answers.
Ancient peoples needed shamans to help humans transition to the next world. Ancient practices of allowing healing energy to help, along with modern medicine may sound mystical, but may also provide a powerful compliment to deeper psychological understandings about human nature.