October 18 2017
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Deathbed Promises

Deathbed Promises


kazi Mansoor - October 23 2017

Great article!

Ann - October 20 2017

Interesting article. I think there may also be “deathbed promises” that are not verbalized but that the surviving person is thinking of or feeling, and these emotions also linger and may interfere with moving forward.

Janet - October 19 2017

Barbara had me write a letter to my mother (I didn’t make it in time for her death) and although I didn’t make any promises, I talked about our sometimes challenging relationship. In that letter, I was able to say things to her that I couldn’t have in her life, and it really did make a difference in the way I processed my grief. No one saw the letter, and it was put in with her for cremation. I was able to express my confusion, and wishes that we had had a closer relationship. All I can say is that IT HELPED.

Harriet Cohen - October 19 2017

These kinds of difficult situations are why we need to have conversations about death and dying and legacy as soon as possible, so things can be discussed and sorted out before that ending moment that is so drenched in grief and guilt. Creating a personal legacy project with the individual that honors them in their own way and words, and at a less tense moment, can perhaps foreclose the need for the deathbed promise. Start a discussion that names in advance the possible subjects of such ‘promises’ and how they might be carried out in some meaningful but doable way. This might help the individual to be at peace. If it is left to the last fraught moment it will be more a reflection of that and any difficult preceding history.

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