Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Misconception of the Failing Body

     What the physical bodies of creatures of all sorts do to prepare for death is nothing less than amazing and it always strikes me as wrong to describe that process as a failure. 
All the time we hear sentiments such as: “his body is failing”, “he is failing”, “her health has declined and she is starting to fail.”  When we inquire of a patient with a terminal illness, we are told, “She is not doing well; I don’t think she will live long.”  But why do we talk in terms of failure?  Our bodies, and those of our companion animals, were created to live and to die.  If you have ever been at the bedside of a being who is dying, you will see that his or her body makes continual adjustments as to what is the most important function for that period of time.  They sleep a lot to conserve energy.  They don’t hunger, so energy is not used to consume, digest or eliminate food.  Eyes close to focus inward.  Sight blurs.  Speech is limited.  Hearing dims.  Being and touching become the core needs and goals.

     When your pet is dying, try not to think of the process as a continual downward slope of failure, but rather an amazing journey to weed out the unnecessary and preserve what really matters.  Your pet is working hard and his or her body is succeeding in making the most of his or her time here with you and your family.  Being, touching and loving.  He or she is conserving energy, shutting down systems that are no longer useful and becoming the essence of love itself that will ultimately transcend his or her death and be with you always. 

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