“I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you really love that person and want to help them, be with them when their end comes close. Sit with them – you don’t even have to talk. You don’t have to do anything but really be there with them.” -Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
In a time when people are constantly checking their texts, email and alerts, Elisabeth’s message encouraging presence without conversation can seem oddly inactive — if not downright cold, especially in a society where sound is now often equated with connection.
Yet, what Elisabeth understood then is something the hospice and palliative care field advocates for more of now: Presence. What does that mean? Take yesterday’s call from a woman who reached out to discuss her dying best friend:
“What do I say? What if I say the wrong thing,” she cried. “She’s dying! I can’t just sit there!”
Yet that’s exactly what Elisabeth encouraged and I do, too, because sometimes the most meaningful communication between the living and the dying comes from simply being… sharing space without filling it with noise disguised as banter. For many concerned friends, family members and caregivers, however, voicelessness is equated to powerlessness. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Choosing to sit bedside with the dying, in silence, is one of the most empowering acts ever.
Choosing to intently listen to seemingly senseless words that can emerge from a soul preparing to transition, can be awe-inspiring. It can truly be fascinating to watch the mind and spirit reconcile with each other as the soul prepares to soar and the body prepares to die.
Most important, silently sitting bedside affords we, the living, a unique opportunity to be in service to those we love so deeply. I believe the dying often feel the air between us and our presence in the room, whether validated by conversation or not.
So to the woman who called yesterday and to all of you, I send you courage as you walk toward those you love who are dying. I promise you, the opportunity to sit in silence while thoughtfully, prayerfully or energetically sending love and gratitude, could be one of most profound experiences of your life.
Sending Love and Light,
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation
Please join the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation for our first annual Passages fundraiser which benefits the creation of pediatric hospice programming in Santiago, Chile. We will be working with the Casa Segrada Familia Foundation to build a hospice home that will provide compassionate care for children facing end of life.
This unique fundraising event will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona on Thursday, October 4th from 6-9PM at FIAT LUX Gallery. There will be an exhibit by Ken Ross Photography. This unique, fun event will also feature hors d’oeuvres, drinks, live music, entertainment and an auction.
We’re so excited to announce Melina Kanakaredes is set to produce a feature film on the life of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross! We’re honored and excited!
Kanakaredes will co-write the project, with Immortals scribes Vlas and Charley Parlapanides, and will produce via her Melpa Productions shingle. Kanakaredes acquired the rights to the 1997 book The Wheel of Life, as well as Kübler-Ross’ life rights. The project has the support of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Family Partnership, who continue to oversee the publishing of Kübler-Ross’ 23 books that have been translated into more than forty languages and sold over 10 million copies around the globe. Click to read on.
Congratulations to Ken Ross, who has taken on the role of President of the EKR Foundation from Dianne Gray, who had been President for the past five years. Thank you, Dianne for continuing Elisabeth’s legacy for the past nine years. Dianne will continue to serve on the EKR Foundation board as official spokesperson of Elisabeth’s voice and legacy, along with Ken. She will continue on as head of communications.
Meanwhile Ken, Elisabeth’s son, is off to a great start — helping to grow the foundation internationally while Joan Marston, Stephen Connor and Barbara Rothweiler continue to give incredible global support and lift to the foundation. We’re so thankful!
This photo shows lead actress and screenwriter Lori Fichher with EKR Foundation Board Member, Dianne Gray, during the shooting of The Aftertaste, a film about the powerful gift of love between a couple coping with devastating loss.
Directed by Ashley Wren Collins and written by Lori Fischer, Ashley and Lori, as co-producers, are raising funds to complete this film being shot in Nashville, Tennessee. The EKR Foundation is proud to support this film because it represents grief in a real, raw and insightful way. To help, please visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-aftertaste-youtube
Argentina – Fundacion Paliar
We have other great projects coming in the months ahead! Stay tuned!