The 5 Phases of Dying
A Comprehensive Spiritual Care Model
A Time of Orientation & Preparation
Approximately 4-6 months out
Support to turn toward the physical, emotional and spiritual realities of living with a terminal illness, at a time when life-sustaining treatments may still be relevant, and quality of life vs. treatment is a central consideration.
A Time of Paradox
Approximately 1-3 months out
Support to a time when focus on life may still be dominant, but disease progress and symptom management creates limitations. Hospice is usually involved here. Inquiry may shift toward an increasing need for the dying to feel anchored in the spiritual world to which they are headed.
A Time of Transition
Approximately 1-3 weeks out
Support to a time in the dying process marked by slowing down and drawing inward. There is a palpable sense of the dying being “between the worlds” of inner/outer, body/spirit.
For loved ones, this can be a challenging time as they witness their beloved receding from relationship, while still being physically present.
A Time of Veils Thinning
Approximately 1-3 days, to hours out
Support to the period of “active labor” of the dying process where the body gradually begins shutting down and the dying become largely non-responsive as they move from identification with a body toward what lies beyond.
A Time of Release
Support to promoting a space of deep presence, care, love and peace around the dying, facilitating any desired elements of ceremony, and providing guidance for post-death vigil period (if desired).
Click Here to view the comprehensive services of the 5 Phases in PDF form
"Both my parents passed away within a year of each other. Loren’s emotional and spiritual guidance helped me live through the overwhelming grief with an ever-expanding love for my Mom and Dad. What could have been an overwhelming loss was transformed into a sacred process - beautiful and profound..." ~David R.
Grief is a mysterious yet trustworthy process that seeks expression. It is the very process by which we transform our lives from a world interconnected with our beloved, to one wherein we can rediscover joy and vitality, while still honoring their absence. It is not a sign that something is wrong with us, it is a sign that the processes of nature are working in and on us accurately. The deeper our attachment to our beloved, the deeper this unwinding necessarily must be. If offered a consistent space to be honored, felt and allowed, grief itself becomes a pathway of profound growth and healing.
Grief counseling offers:
- Support to the naming, honoring and expression of grief with an emphasis on the body as resource and ally
- Support to the client’s capacity to titrate or dose the grief process so as not to become overwhelmed by it
- Development of the client’s inner, outer and spiritual resources that form the container for grief to be expressed and experienced in a balanced and safe way
- Ongoing context and normalization for the client to be able to place their unique and personal journey within the larger map of grief’s terrain
A memorial ceremony provides a sacred chalice for remembering, honoring, celebrating and grieving, both the presence and absence of the loved one who has passed. Ideally, memorials are also pivotal thresholds for the living to ritualize their grief within community, and take the first steps across the threshold of life after loss.
Memorial support includes:
- Support to the family co-create a container that can become filled by the sacred elements, words, objects and memories that appropriately honor their loved one's legacy.
- Helping the family mark this important threshold of grief and mourning.
- Creation of a sermon drawn from the legacy, history and impact of the loved one's life, and offered as the ‘story' that anchors their memorialization.
- Creating intentional space for the family to be strongly held, to grieve and to receive the story of their loved one within the circle of community witness and love.