Daddy, this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad
Julie Saeger Nierenberg
Published by CreateWrite Enterprises
Armin Saeger was an activist, social worker, bioenergetic therapist and author. He was also, like so many of us, scared of dying. After being diagnosed with metastatic cancer, Armin was in turns "angry and sad, disappointed and confused, scared and brave, unaccepting and, finally, accepting”. In his acceptance, he taught his family some profound lessons in how to be with someone who is dying.
These have been captured by Julie Saeger Nierenberg in her moving account of the final months of her father’s life. It is a blueprint for a death done well, despite the physical distances involved (for much of the time Julie was in Toronto while her father was in Tulsa). Before he died, Armin asked each of his loved ones for permission. When he died, Julie was beside him, holding his hand and singing to him. After he died, his family honoured his wishes by holding a celebration of his life, with poems, music and reflections.
It was three years from Armin's diagnosis to his death, and he encouraged his daughter to share the story of his transition. Julie found that, as with birth, death can be a beautiful event. She writes: “Seeing end-of-life as an opportunity, a chance to make amends for those that wish to and to share memories can be very positive and healing.” She encourages us to prepare ourselves for the inevitable deaths of our loved ones at some time in the future, saying it will enable us to live a more contented life in the present, peaceful in the knowledge that when the time comes we will be prepared.
Julie’s overriding sentiment after her father’s death is gratitude – gratitude for the mutual support offered by her family; to his peers, who continued to acknowledge the importance of his work; to the medical team who made his death as comfortable as possible; and, most of all, to her father, for skillfully helping the people who loved him come to terms with losing him.
'Daddy, this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad' is available to buy from Amazon.
Many thanks to all who entered our drawer to win one of three copies of 'Daddy, this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad'. The winners are: Joanne Evans, Hayley Cole and Colette Watson.