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Care of the Dying: A Spiritual Discipline

Attending the death of a loved one is a painful, sometimes disturbing experience. Frequently it has a deeply mysterious quality, somewhat similar to being present at the birth of a child. As a hospice nurse, at times, when I am in the presence of death, I feel a primitive, visceral desire for a comforting ritual such as the Catholic last rites or the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The mystery of death is sometimes glimpsed obliquely, almost out of the corner of the eye. The Spirit is present (but not always in plain sight), helping us to learn about🔒

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Brad Sheeks works as a visiting nurse for Heartland Hospice in the Philadelphia, Pa., area. He is a member of Central Philadelphia Meeting. He and his wife, Patricia McBee, co-lead couples enrichment programs for Friends General Conference.


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