My husband, Benjamin, is writing a book on hospice and palliative care, recording the stories of people who work with the dying and their patients. One of the most intriguing stories he collected was from David Maginley, a Lutheran pastor and chaplain at the Cancer Program of the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Maginley integrates Christianity with Buddhist practices to help him understand attitudes of fear and attachment, which comes in handy when he works with patients who are struggling with their attachments to people, their memories, and even to their body.
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David says he cares more about the “here” than the “hereafter.” He believes the fear of death can be so profound, many people would rather think about the afterlife, instead of confronting the pain of leaving everything we know.
As a Spiritualist, I know that death isn’t the end. There is life after life, and we don’t lose our loved ones; they are with us in spirit to help and guide us, if we’re open to receiving them. Still, the transition we call death can be very frightening, which is why David stresses that the most important thing to remember is that love enables us to die feeling completely safe.
David administers therapeutic touch to patients who ask for this relaxation therapy. Briefly, therapeutic touch is energy manipulation work that involves moving the hands through the patient’s energy field to reduce their pain and anxiety. In addition, the energy worker sends compassionate thoughts to the patient.
“Therapeutic touch helps people experience themselves as more than physical,” he explains. “That’s an important aspect of feeling completely safe, even as they die.”
David tells the story of a 14-year-old cancer patient who enjoyed receiving therapeutic touch. Unfortunately, the aggressive cancer spread through his body, and he went into coma. Doctors sedated him and the family asked David to give their son one last treatment.
“The family gathered on one side of the bed, and I stood on the other side,” David remembers. His voice softens as he continues: “I centred myself until I was aware of only me and the young man. I felt a deep sense of fear within him, and sent him thoughts of love and compassion as I moved my hands around his body.
“His breathing became shallower as his fear seemed to subside, and I began to weep. When I looked up, I saw the family’s minister standing with them on the other side of the bed. I told him he could take over and he said, ‘It’s okay, you’re doing good, keep going.’
“I finished the treatment with a sense of deep love, and felt the boy’s spirit say Thank you. I stepped away from the bed and told the family I felt the boy had sensed their love, and it helped dissolve his fear. His parents asked for some time with their son, so the minister and I stepped out of room. The boy died a few moments later in his parents’ arms. They came out of the room weeping and grateful.”
David reflects for a few moments. “Too many people die feeling scared of pain, or they’re afraid they’ll encounter profound isolation as they spiral into darkness. The important thing to remember is that in love and connection, we feel safe. It’s possible to die feeling completely safe.”
Carolyn Molnar is a Toronto based Psychic Medium and Spiritual Teacher. She has over 30 years’ experience. She provides readings and also teaches others how to tap into their intuitive abilities.
Her book, ‘It Is Time: Knowledge From The Other Side’, has made a real impact in how people understand intuition. She has been featured on radio, television and in print. Carolyn believes intuition is accessible to everyone.